Monday, November 05, 2007

Considering Parks - Fairview, Skate and Dog

Tomorrow, November 6, 2007 (contrary to a date shown on another local blog) the Costa Mesa City Council will consider several issues that may determine the configuration of Fairview Park in the future.


Fairview Park has been described by many local officials and activists as Costa Mesa's "Crown Jewel". As you can see in the photo above, at more than 200 acres, it is the largest open space in our city and the only really "natural" park. Many residents want it to remain as it is - more or less natural and a place where one might go to contemplate wildlife or - one's navel - depending on how you are inclined. Presently, you can ride a choo-choo one weekend each month, fly model airplanes or kites or just meander around t
hrough the weeds (native plants) and enjoy the fresh air wafting up the Santa Ana River. What you cannot do is break a sweat.

On the agenda tomorrow night, in a curious bit of scheduling, are four items the council will include in it's deliberation. The first on the schedule, Old Business #1, is the consideration of placement of a temporary 2,000 square foot building on the east side of Placentia Avenue, near the model trains. Theoretically, and based on the staff report, this will temporarily house an extremely valuable model train exhibit that may be, at least temporarily, donated to the park.


Old Business #2 is the consideration of awarding nearly $70,000 for the conceptual design for a skate park at Lion's Park. I'm trying to figure out why we would spend that kind of money before a decision has been made to consider only Lion's Park as the preferred venue.

Old Business #3 addresses the request by Council Member Linda Dixon to consider the closure of Park Avenue north of 18th Street - adjacent to Lion's Park - to facilitate use of Lion's Park for a skate park. Quite honestly, this is a pretty hare-brained scheme, one that would create inconveniences and safety issues since the fire station location is included in the proposed closure area.

New Business #2 is the consideration of opening the Fairview Park Master Plan for consideration of inclusion of a skate park and/or dog park within it's boundaries. I've read the staff reports on this issue and it certainly seems reasonable to consider a skate park and a dog park on the east side of Placentia.


It seems to me that we've got the cart before the horse, schedule-wise. I hope the council will c
onsider the New Business item first and resolve that question. If they decide not to re-open the Fairview Park Master Plan to consider placing a skate park and/or dog park then the other items mentioned above should be given serious consideration. If they do decide to re-open the Master Plan, then Old Business #2 and #3 are premature. There's no reason to spend $70,000 for a conceptual design if the skate park may not end up at Lion's Park. The same applies to the consideration of closing Park Avenue.


I fully expect there will be a large turnout for this particular meeting. There will be many views expressed, and much wailing and gnashing of teeth about destroying Fairview Park with cement and buildings. Hogwash!


Fairview Park is huge, with plenty of natural areas to enjoy on the west side of Placentia Avenue. The east side already has the model trains and the inclusion of other more active entities would certainly seem to be appropriate. One wag has gone so far as to recommend closing Placentia Avenue, a pipe dream which certainly doesn't make any of the local commuters happy.

Fairview Park is a unique and wonderful resource for our city. However, it certainly doesn't serve enough residents in it's current configuration. I've studied the staff reports and think there is plenty of space for a skate park as envisioned, plus a new dog park and the model train building on the east side of Placentia.

I encourage those of you who have strong feelings one way or the other to attend the council meeting and voice your opinion. The rest of us may be watching on Channel 24 - the proceedings begin at 6 p.m.

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