A play area for elementary age children, a soft-surface walking path, open green space and four pickleball courts were among the amenities depicted in the design concept presented Monday night at a joint public workshop between the Cali-mesa Planning Commission and the Parks, Trails and Comm-unity Services Commission for the Fourth Street Community Park expansion in Calimesa. Although there was much discussion on the details of the amenities for the expansion of the park, Planning Manager Kelly Lucia said the conceptual design presented at the Nov. 8 public workshop would be part of the city’s application for grant funds that needs to be submitted before the end of the year. “This particular workshop is meant to tighten up the concept for the application,” she said. “I think probably staff’s next step, we might make some minor adjustments, but just for the purpose of the grant application, we are probably going to be submitting this concept as part of it. “When or if we receive that funding … we will be hiring a landscape architect. Once we get down to the nitty-gritty design phase, we can certainly come back for another workshop. Maybe we can … further refine some of the amenities.” Calimesa is expected to receive about $185,000 in grant funds, based on a questionnaire it submitted to establish eligibility for the state allocation for parks, according to the agenda. “Everything on the concept is subject to funding,” Lucia said. Along with the amenities, the city is planning to build an approximate 1,500-square-foot maintenance building for equipment and vehicles on the 2.31 parcel, at 941 Fifth St. in Calimesa. Restrooms at that end of the park are also included. This was the second public workshop on the expansion of the Fourth Street Community Park, which opened in 2015 and includes a dog park, a playground for preschool age children and a multi-use trail. The city also asked for and received input from more than 100 residents through an online survey. Among the popular items suggested by residents were pickleball courts, playground equipment for older children and continuing the multi-use trail. “We had a member of the public come to our last workshop and share with the group that he is a veteran and has impact issues with his joints,” Lucia said. “He thought it would be great to have a lower-impact material such as decomposed granite instead. We went ahead and accommodated that.” Besides changing the original design of a concrete path, markers indicating distances will also be added to the trail. Parks Chair Howard Reeves did not think the pathway was continuous if it dead-ended into the pickleball courts as on the conceptual design. “Is that the walking path? Do you have to walk under the pickleball courts? Is there going to be a tunnel under there?” he asked. He then suggested the path could be continuous if it goes around the pickleball courts. City staff agreed to modify the design. Other recommendations Making a continuous path was not the only suggestion made by the commissioners. Planning Vice Chair Michael Brittingham wanted to see the two playground areas located near each other. He didn’t like that they were in different areas of the park in the conceptual design, and pointed out there seemed to be space near the existing play equipment. “As a parent … I am not going to have one of my kids at one end and another at the other,” he said. “That makes no sense whatsoever.” Councilman Jeff Cervantez, who attended the workshop as a resident, agreed. “I think the idea about the play equipment being on the opposite ends of the park is a concern. That is well taken and something we should think about,” he said. “If we are going to have families come to this place, to expect parents to send one in one direction and another in the other direction is probably not ideal.” The pros and cons of artificial turf and grass for the approximate 1 acre of open space, along with changing a couple of pickleball courts for one tennis court or a basketball court, and moving the restrooms closer to the maintenance facility were also discussed. “I like the idea, if possible, if we can do it responsibly … of having real grass as opposed to artificial,” Cervantez said. “I think it is much more inviting for children.” Planning Commissioner Christine Champenios agreed, while Planning Chair Mike Barron and Brittingham thought artificial turf would be more cost effective because of maintenance and watering. Planning Commissioner John Keith wanted a flagpole and plaque to recognize veterans to be considered. Everyone liked the idea and when Lucia brought up the fact the park would probably be renamed since it will back up to both Fourth and Fifth streets, Cervantez suggested that might be another opportunity to recognize veterans. “Maybe something like a Veterans Park is an appropriate name,” he said. Residents who live next to the park expansion voiced concern about fencing separating the two properties and a shared driveway. In the conceptual design, the fence did not appear to run the entire length of the two properties. Lucia assured the residents the city would work with them to resolve their concerns. “I think we would probably like to hear what your preference is and start from there and be as accommodating as we could be,” Lucia said. With that the commissions received and filed the conceptual design.
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