SANTA CRUZ -- On Tuesday, the City Council will consider plans for the Lower Ocean Neighborhood Park, a half-acre sliver of recreational and open space between Riverside Avenue and San Lorenzo Boulevard.
Made possible by a nearly $1.8 million state grant, the park will feature community gardens, benches, a barbecue grill, fountain, swing set and other playground equipment. The city is required to construct the park by June 2017 in order to receive the funding, which stems from Proposition 84 passed in 2006.
Laura Joy Lamkin, a 14-year resident of Bixby Street, said neighbors are excited. She said the area, which has suffered from crime and blight, needs a community gathering spot considering the closest green space is about a half-mile away at Ocean View Park.
"I think it will have a really good impact," she said, adding that the city took great care in lighting the park well for safety. "It really will be a neighborhood park."
Lamkin said she remembers there was concern about what impact the Ken Wormhoudt Skate Park would have on the neighborhood when it went in several years ago at San Lorenzo Boulevard and Riverside Avenue. But she said it has become a positive community space.
The Lower Ocean park will be the first new neighborhood park in the city since Poets Park was placed in the Beach Flats in 2007 and Depot Park opened in 2005. The Lower Ocean park will be built on three parcels acquired by the city, which has about
"In these tough economic times, it's tough to create anything new, and the fact that we were able to gather this money is great," said Councilman Ryan Coonerty, who lives nearby. "A lot of kids in the neighborhood play soccer and catch in the street. So to have a safe place they can gather and play is huge."
The park is on the council's consent agenda, meaning city staff expects the item not to be controversial.
The Parks and Recreation Commission passed the plan unanimously in July and there was no attendance by community members at that meeting. However, the city did receive input from residents during a meeting last March, according to the Parks and Recreation Department.
The city intends to hire landscape architect Janet Pollock and architect Mark Primack, a former council member, to design the project.
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IF YOU GO
SANTA CRUZ CITY COUNCIL
WHEN: 3 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Council Chamber, 809 Center St.