PARKS AND RECREATION MEETING February 13, 2023
Department Update: The City Council created and appointed an ad hoc committee last year to envision the potential uses of Union Pacific Park. Recently the committee had its first meeting. Now that more resources, such as a landscape architect, are available, bids have been received to start construction of Pooch Park, which will move from its current location at Hunt Library to Brea Dam. In addition, the parking lot entrance will be moved to increase safety. Meanwhile, the department is seeking proposals for a future landscape design for Emery Park. Bastanchury Park and Hillcrest Park are next on the list for re-design. Acacia Park should be completed in around five months. Meanwhile, the Adopt-a-Park program is going strong, with community volunteers assisting in the ongoing maintenance of the trails and parks.
Community Center Update The center has started a new program called “Crafternoons” for kids on Wednesdays when local schools have early release. There will be a Spring Break Art Camp this year for 9-12-year-olds. New programs for seniors include Dessert and sing-along sessions and a Senior Drum Circle. “Museums and More” is offering trips for seniors with transportation provided to area museums. The center will host a wedding show with exhibitors in March. For a long time, the Secret Pals program has offered scholarships to help children from low-income families enjoy a wide range of city programs. Unfortunately, this program is running low on funds, and sponsors and donations are needed to maintain access for all children.
Public Comments Kent Morris complimented the paintings on utility boxes in the downtown area. He wondered if there could be more murals and art installations around the city. Staff responded that it is not easy to instigate this process as it must go through several city procedures, including gaining consent from the owner, resolving liability issues, and obtaining a review by a public art committee.
Update for Commissioners City staff explained the future rules that will govern commissioners’ ability to participate remotely in meetings, which will take effect when the state’s emergency COVID orders are rescinded at the end of the month. Commissioners will still be allowed to use Zoom and can tune in remotely. They must post their agenda at least 2 hours in advance and cannot Zoom from a car, as they must be in a fixed location. AB 2449 allows remote participation by individuals in meetings for reasons such as childcare, illness, or a family emergency. The majority of the legislative body must still be physically present when these meetings occur.
Fullerton Police Department (FPD) Presentation At the Commission’s request, a FPD captain made a presentation on the FPD’s efforts to patrol city parks. Commissioners have noted problems with vandalism, which is costly for the city to clean up. There have also been problems with locking bathrooms, leaving the public without access to facilities. In response, the FPD captain said that it has existing park patrols operating on overtime and that $100,000 has been spent on additional staffing. To aid the police in park and trail patrols, the department has ordered new motorcycles which can go off-road. Security cameras are also at a few locations around town to help detect any trail alteration, and more are planned.
Community Volunteers the FPD currently has a Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol program that assists with vacation home checks and park patrols. In addition, they can report problems in the parks using the MyFullerton App for a response. Now Fullerton Public Works, Parks and Rec, and the Fullerton Police Department are jointly launching and funding a Fullerton Park Ambassador program modeled on the RSVP program. It will be staffed by volunteers ages 21 and older who will receive training, wear a city uniform, and have access to a vehicle labeled “Fullerton Parks.” It is expected that this will enhance the capacity of all stakeholders to respond to problems such as trail modification, infrastructure damage, or public behavioral problems requiring police intervention. These volunteers will have no enforcement capacity but will be issued radios and can call for assistance. Two volunteers have been confirmed, and 8-10 more are being screened. At the same time, efforts are being made to publicize the new Park Ambassador program to the citizens.