Council approves dog parks, amphitheater and more

Council approves dog parks, amphitheater and more
Residents wanted more playgrounds so officials chose to relocate and add another play set at Poinsettia Community Park. Mary and Dawn Wilson play with Aubree Wilson at Aviara Community Park. Photo by Ellen Wright

CARLSBAD— The master plans for Pine Avenue, Poinsettia and Aviara Community Parks were unanimously approved Tuesday night in front of a full audience, paving the pathway for development of the parks.

“Parks and recreation always brings ‘em out,” Parks and Recreation Director Chris Hazeltine said.

The city did a statistically reliable needs assessment study to find out what needs were being met in Carlsbad, and what needs weren’t.

The current Master Plans for the parks are over 20 years old, Hazeltine said.

”What we wanted to do is take a very thoughtful look to ensure what we put forward in those master plans is what the community wanted to see today,” Hazeltine said.

Many speakers came to voice their concerns that the plans didn’t incorporate facilities for bike riders.

Hazeltine said that while no bike skills parks or bike trails were added in these three parks, the city is still open to the idea of them elsewhere.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of folks speaking to the lack of bike opportunities in these three park master plan updates,” Hazeltine said.

“That does not mean the city is not supportive of biking opportunities and it does not meant that anything that you approve tonight would preclude biking opportunities throughout (the city). It just means not at these three specific parks,” Hazeltine told the council.

Another issue that brought out lots of residents was the possibility of converting two tennis courts at the Laguna Riviera City Park on Kelly Drive into pickleball courts.

Many residents spoke against the conversion, saying the courts are the only ones lit at night and they often have to wait to play on the courts.

Neelay Bhatt, vice president of PROS Consulting, Inc., which was contracted by the city to spearhead the master plan updates, said the courts were chosen because the area is “over served” by tennis courts and pickleball players don’t have any courts.

Currently tennis players can play at Valley Middle School and Carlsbad High School during select hours.

“This is a community and as leaders, it philosophically behooves us to provide offerings for everything. The utilitarian principle is what’s the greatest good for the greatest number of people, not just what’s the greatest good for the most popular sport of choice,” Bhatt said.

The council tabled the decision to convert the courts and asked staff to look at other options, like trying to squeeze a pickleball court at one of the three parks.

All of the park additions will cost a total of $11.2 million, which the city already has set aside. The funds come from developer impact fees and each quadrant of the city gets a portion.

At Pine Avenue Community Park, the senior center will be expanded with an indoor recreation center and an outdoor rooftop sport court on the top floor. A teen and fitness space will be added.

The recreation space will be shaped by the programs offered by potential partners and could include lacrosse, soccer or rugby, Bhatt said.

To honor the Barrio’s heritage, an ornamental and a community garden with 48 raised beds will be added.

At Poinsettia Community Park, an off leash dog park will be added to an under used portion of the park. A fence will separate areas between small and large dogs.

The city also needs to change rules to allow leashed dogs in the park so they can get through the park to enter the dog park without breaking city rules.

A multi-use multigenerational community recreation center will be added at the park entrance. A proposed sports arena will also be expanded for soccer, field hockey and lacrosse, among other sports.

The existing playground will be relocated and an additional play are will be added for areas suited to 2-to-5 year olds and kids aged 5-to-12.

At Aviara Community Park, council approved the addition of an amphitheater, a small community kitchen for cooking demonstrations and fire pits.

“It has a beautiful ocean view and I think it is indicative of one of the great things about Carlsbad and our parks (which) is bringing our community together and people can get married up there, have their kids perform up there, there can be culinary delights made in the kitchen and this is a gem,” Councilwoman Lorraine Wood said.

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