OCEANSIDE — A sizable group of Oceanside residents gathered at the Country Club Senior Center Feb. 27 to discuss city parks. The initial workshop for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan collected input on current parks and trails uses and desired amenities.
“We really need to hear what residents have to say about parks,” Megan Crooks, city development services senior management analyst, said.
Four breakout groups looked at parks in different areas of the city. Residents discussed what they liked about current parks and improvements that could be made.
Some common suggestions for parks improvements included lighting to improve safety, off-leash dog walk areas and public pools and splash pads. Other items on residents’ wish lists for parks included amphitheaters, additional parking, adult playground areas and improved ADA access.
Kudos were given to Mance Buchanon Park for its fields and playground.
Safe access to beachside Buccaneer Park was a concern. Suggestions were to complete the trail system and ensure safe park access from the east.
General park safety was a concern at Joe Balderrama Park and Libby Lake Park. In addition to lights, keeping Balderrama Park facilities open additional hours was suggested.
Residents were also asked to look at city school sites and comment on school district partnerships they would like to see allow public use.
Residents near Oceanside High School said the high school grounds would help provide a recreational area within the high density housing neighborhood. Suggestions for site uses included access to the track and organized community activities at the school.
A couple of residents shared their wish for more open space, and pointed out a parcel of private property in the west quadrant of the city, which is slated for development and the future use of a private golf course in the same region of the city. The property, which will soon be developed, has been used as a community gathering space to stroll and walk dogs. Homeless issues that occur on the property were also discussed.
To wrap up the meeting a summary of small group comments was shared with the whole group. An exhaustive list of comments will be provided at the next workshop along with an inventory of current park facilities.
The city’s goal is to maximize use of its parks and ensure facilities meet community needs.
The Parks and Recreation Master Plan was last updated in the 1996. Since then Luiseno Park and Mance Buchanon Park were established and city skateboard parks were developed.
Oceanside parks are now considered built out. The focus going forward will be on facility changes and improvements.
The city will hold two more public workshops and conduct pop-up surveys at city events in March and April. A recommended plan will be shared with at the April community workshop.
Following the community input period, a Master Plan will be developed and presented to City Council in October or November.
Information on upcoming workshops is posted on the city webpage under parks, and on the City of Oceanside Parks and Recreation Facebook page.