Two basketball courts, a ballfield, two play areas and a shade structure are among the amenities included in the conceptual design for Calimesa’s new park, which will also be its largest.
The 6-acre park under discussion at a Jan. 11 public workshop with applicant and developer JEN SoCal 1, LLC, the city of Calimesa and members of the Calimesa Planning Commission and the Parks, Trails and Community Services Commission is part of the Summerwind Trails residential development.
The Summerwind Trails residential development is part of the Summerwind Ranch project, which includes the new Marketplace at Calimesa. Summerwind Ranch is located on the west side of Interstate 10 and is projected to have about 3,800 residential units at build out.
“As you know that project was approved many years ago and it has been under construction since about 2018. We have about 500 homes that have been constructed at this point,” said Planning Manager Kelly Lucia, who presented the item. “The school, K through eight, is also under construction and this approximately 6-acre park will be one of the next items that you see coming online.”
Lucia provided a few more details on the design and screened a flyover video of the park before opening the workshop to discussion and feedback.
“We have been working with the developer quite a bit, back and forth, on this design and I think some members of our Parks and Trails Community Commission did see this concept once before and not much has changed since that time,” Lucia said. “Staff has found this concept consistent, with substantial conformance, to the specific plan.”
Howard Reeves, a member of the Parks, Trails and Community Services Commission, had a lot of questions for Leslie Locken, the representative for JEN SoCal 1, LLC, regarding the ballfield and its specifications for the backstop, dugout, fencing and especially the lack of a snack bar.
“Is there going to be a snack shack there?” Reeves asked.
“No,” Locken said in reply, “there is not, but what we did agree to was to take the restroom building and make it a bigger footprint for a storage room for where a barbecue or tables could be stored for that amenity as far as a snack station.”
Locken added a snack shack at the park was not part of the Summerwind Specific Plan and cost would be a factor to now include it.
“That is going to be difficult to hold organized games there without the facility to take care of the public,” Reeves said. “The snack shack has really got to be an item that we have to take a look at.”
Lucia reminded those present and listening online that a larger park with a recreational facility is also part of the project and might be a better location for a snack shack.
Planning commission vice chair Michael Brittingham did not think a snack shack was needed at the 6-acre park.
“This is a neighborhood park, this is not a dedicated Little League park. That’s why the snack bar,” Brittingham said.
Reeves also brought up the need for domed backstops and fencing to run the length of the bleachers to protect those in the stands.
“We are interested in a list of specs. If you have certain specs and items you would like us to consider as part of putting in the construction drawings, please give us your input,” Locken said.
Other items commissioners requested the applicant consider were:
• Adding more barbecue grills at the shelter, currently there is only one.
• Adding another drinking fountain, currently there is only one near the bathrooms where there is potable water. The rest of the park uses recycled water.
• Adding lights to the pathways.
• Making sure trash cans and recycle bins are paired together.
Overall, members and staff were excited to see the conceptual design for the park and see it moving forward.
“Congratulations, this looks really nice so far. The flyover was great to see, as well,” said Bruce Prins, a member of the Parks, Trails and Community Services Commission.
“I think it is an excellent job and I am looking forward to seeing it come forward,” said Mike Barron, chair of the planning commission.
“We are very excited to be getting this wonderful amenity for our community,” Lucia said.
The four planning commissioners and three community services commissioners present all agreed to receive and file the conceptual design of park, which is expected to begin construction in summer 2021.