April 10, 2023
Acacia Park-The old playground has been demolished and paved over. A new one will be installed by August.
Union Pacific Park-A meeting has been held with the landscape architect to begin the design process. Emery Park has a new playground with an accessible walkway.
There are many open positions with Fullerton Parks and Rec, and applications are being taken now.
The downtown street market kicked off last week, Spring Break youth camp was sold out, and the Fullerton Senior Center offers in-person grocery distribution again. At the same time, the Fullerton gym is also back open. There was no commissioners quorum for the Arts and Culture meeting, so it was postponed until June.
In public comments, Curtis Gamble spoke again as an advocate for veterans, bus drivers, and people experiencing homelessness. He requested that the municipal code include more tiny homes and reminded commissioners that the cold weather shelter has closed as of March 21, leaving 200 homeless on city streets. Maureen Milton inquired about the Fullerton on Foot program and asked for numbered hard copies of the current city walks, as she does not have Youtube access but enjoys the educational tours.
Staff Report on Relocation of Pooch Park
The current Pooch Park began in June 2007 and is now open six days a week from 7 am to 8 pm. It is city-managed and operated by members of the Fullerton Dog Park Foundation. They have been asked to relocate as the current site is part of the Hunt Branch Library revitalization plan.
Council had previously approved its relocation to Brea Dam Park. The new Pooch Park design requires accessible walkways, expensive chain link fencing, solar lighting, shade structures, and upgraded steel fencing, costing $765,696. Replacement of the existing bridge will add an additional $166 874. There is a small potential to reduce costs by changing to lower-priced solar lighting.
Commissioner Lloyd wondered why the price was so high because the current quote was much higher than the original proposed cost. $430,000 would be necessary for the required improvements. Drinking fountains will cost $10,000 each.
Commissioner Lindstrom asked how the site was selected. It was preferred as a central location that was not close to residential housing, as the noise of dogs barking can be a concern. It is also a flat area with an existing parking lot. Lighting expenses are seen as necessary so residents can use the park after school and after work. However, a preference for trees instead of structures to provide shade was suggested, as dogs can also use trees. These could be phased in over time as people use the park.
Commissioner Meza stated that people are using existing parks near their homes for dog walking, not driving to a specific destination. Smaller dog play areas could be created in different pockets around the city. There was interest in better determining the current number of users. Another idea would be to share the dog park expense with nearby cities or to seek other grants.
Commissioner Wehn stated that he had voted to proceed with the original estimate of $250,000-$300,000 with a grant from ARPA but was concerned about cost increases as proposed. He wanted to clarify that the US Army Corps of Engineers would not object to this new use and that written consent would be given from the Feds, not just verbal. Commissioner Hallstrom pointed out that it is a culturally significant area with a design that might be affected by watersheds and drainage.
Joshua Ferguson suggested that the site and the bid did not seem congruent with current needs and that the park could be relocated elsewhere. Curtis Gamble did not support the item due to questions raised by commissioners. Maureen Milton asked about installing decorative gravel as a ground cover in the park, as it would not be suitable for mobility.
Since none of the current commissioners were on the original Commission that approved the plan, the Commission felt that more information was needed and requested documentation from the Army Corps of Engineers, an effort to use trees for shade, and an assessment of the current volume of usage by citizens.
Review of Operational Budget 2024
The number of Parks and Rec employees has dropped from 32 in 2010 to 14 in 2023. There have been problems with recruitment as Fullerton’s wages are currently lower than other nearby cities.
It was noted that the city has been receiving $300,000 a year from Republic Services to help put on events such as First Night, Fourth of July, and Downtown Tree Lighting, and there is interest in how the money is being utilized. It was acknowledged that Parks and Rec received $70,000, which helped put on Concerts in the Park, Downtown Street Market, and Movies in the Park.
Commissioner Wehn wondered what had happened to this year’s Fourth of July event. Fireworks vendors started receiving requests in January, and the staff could not book when the budget was approved.
The city will also be looking more closely at Ebike’s policy. Ebike riders have been a nuisance to horses and riders at Tara’s Choice Equine Center. Finally, Commissioner Meza appreciated the Parks and Rec Instagram page, which citizens can use for updates and information.