Local residents turned out last week 5 at the Alpine Community Planning Group Parks, Trails, and Conservation subcommittee meeting to air their concerns, give suggestions, and submit ideas on a proposed community park in Alpine.
The park that is up for design would consist of approximately 10-20 acres; this section is part of a larger 98-acre section commonly known as part of Wright’s field that is in the end-stages of purchase by the county of San Diego.
The land is located adjacent to both Joan MacQueen Middle school and land owned by the Back Country Land Trust. With new athletic fields at the middle school and open space at the Back Country Land Trust acreage, the purchase of this land by the County essentially connects the three spaces into a central outdoor space and park for the Alpine community.
The county of San Diego has approved purchase of the land but has not finalized the sale. However, the county has already begun moving forward with environmental studies of the property while final details of the purchase are pulled together.
Park Project Manager at San Diego county Department of Parks and Recreation Judy Tjiong-Pietrzak confirmed that the County is in the process of assembling the Environmental Impact Report. This report is expected to be completed by September 2019 and will aid in determining how to best design the planned park.
While the County proceeds with the business end of this deal and completes the EIR, the local ACPG has begun moving forward to collect input, suggestions, and ideas from the members of the community on what they’d like to see in the park section of the land purchase.
The ACPG invited every community member who was present at the March 5 meeting to voice their suggestions for the park.
Jim Easterling, elected chairperson of the subcommittee and George Barnett, Director of the Back Country Land Trust were both actively involved in facilitating the discussion. Jon Green, Program and Outreach Director of the BCLT provided additional information throughout the evening, including insight on the history of Wright’s field and environmental concerns.
“We would like to give the County information on what the people of Alpine really want,” said Easterling.
“A lot of those ideas are contingent upon what the county says is feasible,” cautioned Barnett.
Although there were fewer than 40 community members present, the conversation that emerged from the forum revealed two general concepts for a park that is indicative of the Alpine community: those who want to see the property developed with usable items such as a dog park, children’s playground, or public swimming pool, and those who want to see the land basically left untouched.
Several residents spoke out for preserving the land without any added structures.
“Leave it as a passive park, undeveloped,” said Dana DeLaTorre.
“There are trails that are used every day, so maybe a little maintenance, but not much else,” suggested Joyce Nygaard.
However, several residents mentioned they would like to consider having a variety of facilities added, such as a dog park. Local resident Mary Harris even spoke for her dog, who was also present at the meeting.
“Pup-pup here said that we definitely would like a dog park,” said Harris.
Barnett asked for a raise of hands to close the meeting with solid numbers on what attendees would like to see considered for the park. Those results were:
- Thirty attendees support the idea of creating a dedicated place for non-intrusive parking, likely of decomposed granite, in combination with measures for traffic management and safety improvements in the area.
- Twenty-two attendees would like to see established trails and pathways for biking and hiking, as well as the installation of outdoor exercise equipment.
- Twelve attendees support the development of a dog park.
- Eight attendees would like to see equestrian facilities with a staging area.
The show of hands at the meeting was merely a preliminary gathering in a process that still has months to go.
“The Environmental Impact Report is being done right now and should be finished by summer… For the park itself… we think it will take about a year of design and public engagement,” Tjiong-Pietrzak explained at the close of the meeting.
No matter what design the park ultimately takes, the ACPG maintains that the park will be designed to serve the community of Alpine without an emphasis on major development.
“Alpine is going to get a wonderful park facility all the while conserving lands around it and all the while preserving the environment,” said Barnett.