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Jogging trails, cricket and a dog park. These were among the suggestions given during a March 19 city forum on amenities that should be included at the future Tustin Legacy Park, which is expected to open by early 2016.
Current plans for the public 33-acre park include four full-size soccer fields, three baseball/softball fields, four tennis courts, two basketball courts, eight pickleball courts, a skate plaza and kids' playgrounds. Two sand volleyball courts and a walking trail surrounding the soccer fields were also added to the plans after the city's first design forum, held Feb. 19.
The park would be at Valencia Avenue and Lansdowne Road, and is budgeted to cost $8 million to $9 million.
"This will be our flagship park," said Parks and Recreation Director Dave Wilson. "We're very excited about the prospect of offering this open space to the community."
FILLING AN ATHLETIC NEED
The park will be 8 acres larger than the Tustin Sports Park, and will serve major demand from youth sports programs, particularly for soccer and baseball/softball fields, Wilson said.
It will feature multiuse fields, with soccer, lacrosse and cricket supported on the four perimeter-lit soccer fields. The baseball and softball fields will be laid out for the most flexibility and to serve different age groups, Wilson said.
While some sports coaches at the March 19 meeting asked for no fences around the fields for more options, Wilson said the ballfields would likely be fenced. There also may be perimeter fencing, to prevent jaywalking and keep kids from running after balls into the street, after comments from Randy Peebles, associate vice chancellor for the nearby South Orange County Community College District.
DOG PARK REQUESTED
During the March meeting, Columbus Square residents asked again for a dog park, echoing suggestions from the February meeting.
A 2- to 3-acre park would give dogs room to exercise and reduce owners taking their pets off-leash when they shouldn't, said resident Adriana Perez-Monje, who has two dogs.
Because the park will be jointly used by nearby Heritage School, putting a dog park there would not be ideal, Wilson said. Instead, a dog park could be incorporated as part of a 170-acre "linear park" planned for the Tustin Legacy.
"I see it as an opportunity to really have a dynamic dog park ... with more of a dedicated use," Wilson said. If it were part of the sports park, it would be a smaller, less substantial area, he added.
Linda Blankinship, a Columbus Square resident with two dogs, supported the linear park idea. If the dog park were at the sports site, it would make parking along Severyns Road even worse, she said.
"It's a wiser idea," Blankinship said. "This would be away from kids, and the residential parking is already impacted."
PLAN FITS BIG PICTURE
Sand volleyball courts were added to park plans after comments from City Councilman Allan Bernstein and calls from the volleyball community, Wilson said. Visitors will be able to jog or walk around the entire park, along with a smaller trail surrounding the soccer fields where parents can watch practices.
The sports park is part of larger city plans to develop the Legacy, which will include thousands of homes, retail and entertainment, corporate business space and a new fire station. The park will also sit kitty-corner to the county's planned 84-acre regional park next to the northern hangar.
City leaders hope to refine the plan again to present at the Community Services Commission's April meeting, get City Council approval this summer and begin drawing up construction documents in the fall.
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