Crescent City Council members have unanimously approved a master plan to revamp Beachfront Park, eventually adding amenities like a dog park, an amphitheater and a bandstand.
The Council's decision comes after two public meetings last year, a lengthy public comment period last month and more input from residents Monday night. Lief McKay, an associate with RRM Design Group of San Luis Obispo, which developed the plan, walked the Council through the drawings, which included a plan for phasing in the park's new amenities.
"It really is a big-picture vision. It's a road map for the future that will take a long time to build," McKay said. "Every idea that you see on this plan came from an idea that was presented to us or suggested by a community member at those meetings. We haven't added anything of our own initiative."
The final plan that was approved by the Council is a melding of the two plans created based on the public's input at the two meetings in August and October, McKay said. McKay also addressed concerns expressed at the Council's meeting Feb. 19 about the number of holes in the disk golf course, which will remain a 24-hole course.
The plan was developed using Community Development Block Grant funds from 2011, according to Associate Planner Eric Taylor. The city Planning Commission approved it March 14.
During public comment Monday, the plan again drew mixed reactions.
City resident Michael Haver said he was concerned that because the dog park is proposed for a location relatively far from U.S. Highway 101, tourists would not know it was there.
Haver also said it would be easier for some pet owners if the dog park was closer to the playground or to the eastern portion of Front Street.
"Everybody I talked to, and I talked to a lot of people down there, everybody's in favor of a park down there," he said. "Especially the residents in the immediate area. They are like me, they're old, tired and crippled and most of them don't have a car. Accessibility is the big thing."
According to the plan, the dog park will sit alongside Front Street across from D and C streets. Mayor Rich Enea said there will be signs at the park to point people to its various features.
Ron Cole, a member of the Wild Rivers Disk Golf Club and a coordinator for Gateway Education, said he was concerned about the number of roads the plan calls for. He also complained that the park looks like a "green suburbia."
"There's just so many straight lines," Cole said. "People leave their homes, leave the city, to go to someplace to escape. To get to nature. It's healthy for them. Is it possible we can muss up the trees
a little bit, rearrange them so there are fewer straight lines?"
Still, Cole retracted a statement he made at the Council's meeting Feb. 19 that the city wasn't listening to residents. On Monday, he praised the inclusion of a labyrinth feature residents said they wanted.
County resident Eileen Cooper spoke about the number of people who visit Crescent City to go birdwatching. At the Feb. 19 meeting, she said she was glad to see a spot that birders visit near the mouth of Elk Creek would remain largely the same. On Monday, Cooper said the city should add signs and amenities for birders.
"It's a tremendously valuable economic resource," she said. "We have large quantities of birds that come here and people come here to see them. Elk Creek is a very rich habitat and they take advantage of that."
City Manager Eugene Palazzo said the Beachfront Park master plan could take 15-20 years to complete. The dog park will likely be the first feature to be implemented, Palazzo said.
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