On Oct. 20, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted for resolution for Department of Park & Recreations to proceed in applying for a grant under Proposition 68, which authorized $4 billion in general obligation bonds to support projects that enhance environmental and social equity in communities.
Requirements for the grants include, the project is a minimum of 50 acres, it is a new recreational amenity attracting visitors from at lease a 20-mile radius or countywide population, and DPR must submit a resolution adopted by the BOS approving one or more applications.
DPR is applying for up to $9,525,000. $3 million for the Alpine County Park, Sweetwater Summit Regional Park Campground Expansion Phase II, and Bonsall Community Park, and $525,000 for Stelzer Park Ranger Station and Visitor Center.
There were five public comments, one in person and four by phone, and in e-comments four were in favor and 26 were against adopting the resolution.
Jonah Gula, Alpine, said that approving Parks & Rec to move forward with applying for this grant shows that the BOS is continuously ignoring input from the Alpine community of the existing plan of Alpine County Park.
“Many, including myself, have reached out with significant concerns that Parks & Rec have not been honest about the survey data about what people want in an Alpine park, and they have ignored all of the input that we have provided. It shows a true lack of representation for Alpiners, and it is irresponsible,” he said. Preserve Alpine’s Heritage chair Julie Simper said Parks & Rec, who presented plans for a small park for Alpine residents, is now asking for grant funds for a regional park that attracts visitors countywide with the Alpine County Park.
“The community favors nature based activities and if you look at the data that they (Parks & Rec) present, less than 10 people have actually responded favorably in this park’s facilities such as pickleball, soccer, baseball, basketball, game tables, all included in this park’s design. But worse than that, hundreds of your constituents have repeatedly and passionately responded to your calls for further comments. This inordinate concern has simply been dismissed.”
Alpine Community Planning Group Chair Travis Lyon said as a father and youth soccer coach he appreciates the work that Parks & Rec has done in applying for additional funding to meet a regional need.
“The reason I mention as a father, a soccer coach, and a school board member is because I have had the opportunity to witness in my community that Alpine seems like a small town when you look at downtown San Diego, but when you are in East County, for many people out there, we support and provide services with our schools, local sports organizations to children from Descanso, Pine Valley, Campo, Crest, and a number of communities that surround us, and I am very supportive of that.”
District 2 Supervisor Joel Anderson said he wanted to thank Parks & Rec for “its thick skin.”
“I have lived in Alpine for 33 years,” he said. “Twenty-two years ago, we proposed a park, and I am sorry that my children did not get to use it, but I am hoping that my grandchildren do. There has been more than enough notification through the years. I certainly appreciate all your hard work. Keep up your hard work. I want to do a shoutout to Travis Lyon who does a great job on the planning group. They take a beat down almost as much as Parks”
District 1 Supervisor Nora Vargas said she was thankful to see staff bring this grant opportunity forward.
“I think it is extremely important to continue to seek grants, particularly for areas where we have a park deficit, and we are underinvested, especially in District 1,” she said.