The City Council was told this week that it would be far less expensive to build a multimillion-dollar sports complex at a vacant school site next to Murdy Park rather than at Huntington Central Park as originally planned.
Community Services Director Ron Hagan told council members Tuesday that the sports center could be developed at the vacant Park View site for about $15 million. If it were built at Huntington Central Park, the cost could be three times as much, because the subsoil there is contaminated with methane gas, Hagan said.
Murdy Park already has several athletic fields, plus basketball and tennis courts. The new facility would add a gymnasium, swimming pool complex, tennis courts, Little League and soccer and football fields.
Hagan made the disclosure while updating officials on the status of a master plan for the 300-acre Huntington Central Park. The city needs to complete a master plan by the end of the year so it can apply for more than $1 million in state and federal grants to develop remaining parklands.
The issue of where to build the sports complex has been one of several delaying approval of the park master plan, which will detail the siting of park facilities.
Also unresolved is whether to keep a gun range at Huntington Central Park that’s been operated there by the Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn. since 1968.
A residents’ task force earlier this year recommended moving the gun range from south of Huntington Beach Central Library to a facility to be built at the former Orange County trash transfer station, which is outside park boundaries.
Hagan said he will recommend that the range be kept at its current location, if it can be rebuilt to eliminate concerns about noise, soil contamination and occasional errant bullets.
The parks master plan is to be considered Wednesday by the Community Services Commission.