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Copyright 2014 Orange County Register
All Rights Reserved
Orange County Register (California)
BY KELLY ZHOU, STAFF WRITER

The city is hosting a second forum on Wednesday for residents to discuss plans for a future sports park at the Tustin Legacy.

The public 33-acre park, expected to open by 2016, would be located at Valencia Avenue and Lansdowne Road. It will likely include four full-size soccer fields, three baseball fields, four tennis courts, two basketball courts, eight pickleball courts, a skate plaza, fitness stations and a kids' water splash pad.

Soccer fields and baseball/softball diamonds are some of the greatest needs in the city, said Parks & Recreation Director Dave Wilson.

"We can't serve all of our youth programs as we sit right now," Wilson said.

The parks department will present a refined plan at the meeting, following suggestions from community members who attended the city's first design forum on Feb. 19.

During the meeting, more than half of City Hall chambers was filled with residents. Those who spoke were relatively positive about the park, including some who were eager to have more sports fields. Many asked for a dog park or dog waste bags at the park.

"We have small patios and side yards," said Adriana Perez-Monje, 40, who lives in Columbus Square. "I think people need a place to have dogs run safety, out of the way of kids."

A neighborhood petition supporting a park already had almost 40 signatures, and the Columbus Square dog club Tailwaggers includes 115 households, Perez-Monje said.

Randy Ikeda, regional commissioner for Tustin AYSO Soccer, said he was fine with the number of soccer fields. But Ikeda, 51, asked that lights be placed on the perimeters to change the configuration of the fields to make more use of them

Irene Long, 57, another Columbus Square neighbor, asked about parking. She noted that the new Tustin Ranch Road connection had increased traffic in the area and that she is worried about accidents.

With 456 parking spaces planned, people can "virtually overpark this park," Wilson said at the meeting. He also added that park entrances and exits are on Valencia Avenue to avoid traffic trips down Severyns Road, near residents' homes.

Other features of the park include jogging trails, playgrounds and a skate plaza - which differs from a skate park because it will be aboveground and easier for police to patrol, Wilson said. A grassy area will serve as a buffer between the lighted sports fields and Columbus Square homes, he added.

The land, part of the former Marine base, is in the process of being conveyed by the Navy. The city will likely receive the property around the time the park is completed, said Matt West, project manager for the Tustin Legacy.

In 2006, the city initially planned a 24-acre park and has since expanded to 33 acres. The city is negotiating with the South Orange County Community College District to get the extra land, which is along Valencia Avenue and would include the majority of the park's parking spaces.

The city held two community workshops in 2005 and 2006, where people suggested features for the park. A key suggestion was a veterans' memorial, which is planned near the corner of Valencia Avenue and Lansdowne Road.

Rick Miller, who teaches tennis and plays pickleball, said eight courts might not be enough, as people already wait on courts in Tustin.

But some Columbus Square residents are critical of this plan.

"My thought is, we've got way more dogs than we have pickleball players," said Barbara Ratkovich, who runs Tailwaggers.

The sports park will sit kitty-corner to the county's planned 84-acre regional park next to the northern hangar.

The city hopes to get City Council approval this summer and begin drawing up construction documents in the fall.

 

The parks department presented a plan for the future 33-acre sports park at a public meeting on Feb. 19.

 

March 14, 2014

 

 
 

 

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