El Dorado duck pond project could finally move forward with City Council approval Tuesday

After being delayed for months because the project originally received no bidders, the Long Beach City Council could finally approve a contract for the El Dorado Duck Pond renovation project, Tuesday night.

The $9 million project is set to fix leaks and failing circulation pumps in the existing pond and also improve the perimeter of the pond with wetland installations and a new walking path around the edge of the pond, something that had become an ADA issue due to the deteriorating condition over the years.

After the project is complete, the new pond will also serve as a reservoir for reclaimed water that will be used to water the golf course next to the park. The city’s website says it expects the project to be completed by the summer of 2023.

The city initially put the project out to bid in April but had no companies bid on the project. However, an effort to recirculate the project saw three companies bid on the project and the City Council could award the contract to Los Angeles Engineering Inc. Tuesday night.

The contract with Los Angeles Engineering is for nearly $5.5 million and the funding is set to come from a variety of sources, including Measure A funds, an open space grant from Los Angeles County, the Long Beach Water Department and from the city’s funds.

While there is currently a $2 million gap in funding for the project, the City Council listed the duck pond project as one of the priority projects that would receive additional funding if Measure A revenue finished above city estimates.

A rendering of the proposed improvements to the El Dorado Park duck pond.

Measure A, a sales-tax increase that was made permanent by Long Beach voters in 2020, has consistently ended the year with higher than anticipated revenue since it was first adopted in 2016.

Councilwoman Stacy Mungo Flanigan, who represents the area that includes El Dorado Park, said “It has been a project of love for six years and I’m so thankful that we’ll be getting a groundbreaking any day now.”

Mungo Flanigan announced last week that she would not run for reelection in 2022 because the city’s redistricting process drew her, and El Dorado Park, out of the new 5th District. However, Mungo Flanigan is hopeful that the overhaul of the pond can be completed before her term ends in December of 2022.

El Dorado Park and the duck pond will officially become part of the 4th City Council district when the new map adopted by the Long Beach Independent Redistricting Commission goes into effect on Dec. 18.

Before work can start on the project, the city will work to relocate wildlife from the pond, including the red-eared slider turtles that live in the pond. The turtles, which are considered to be an invasive species, could be relocated to a reptile sanctuary, the city previously said.

The new pond, with its increased circulation, is expected to be a better habitat for the ducks and other animals that will call it home in the future. The use of it as a storage basin for irrigation water will also increase the city’s capacity to store water by about 10%.

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