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Commissioners tour grounds of new park

ENCINITAS — Encinitas Parks and Recreation commissioners loaded up in a van Thursday and toured the grounds of what will become the city’s newest recreation attraction, the Encinitas Community Park.

The stop was the highlight of the commission’s semiannual facilities tour, during which the seven-member body and park staff stops in at select parks, community and senior centers to check on the conditions and talk to users about their experiences.

Commissioners said the tours are an important part of the group’s service as it helps them to become familiar with the parks and facilities that they steward.

“Since we are asked to make decisions and advise the council on certain decisions involving the parks, I think it is important that we visit them and know all we can about them,” Commissioner Sanford Shapiro said. “It’s important that we know what is going on, not only with the parks, but the community centers as well. We put on programs there, such as every day there are lunches for seniors. How many of us have sat down and participated in the lunch?”

The 44-acre, $36.5-million Encinitas Community park, located off Interstate 5 and Santa Fe Drive on the former Hall property,  is expected to open in the fall.

As of the last city update in June, it was 80 percent complete.

The park will include a 13,000-square foot skate park, soccer, baseball and softball fields, children play areas and a 2-acre dog park that the City Council recently approved naming it after the late Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan.

“Since it is still an active construction zone, we can’t walk the grounds, so we will get into a van and be on site looking at the progress,” Commissioner Sanford Shapiro said.

The commission’s tour took them to several other key facilities throughout the city: Encinitas Community & Senior Center, Leo Mullen Sports Park, Cardiff Sports Park and Glen Park, with a noontime lunch break at Moonlight State Beach.