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Vista Parks Master Plan Workshop Draws Large Crowd to Design Session

By   /  May 28, 2024  /  No Comments

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TR Robertson – It wasn’t just the complimentary tacos that drew a large Vista crowd to the Vista Parks Master Plan Workshop on Wednesday, but a chance to meet Vista City Staff members and the Parks Master Plan consultants and to take part in the beginning steps in designing two new parks for the city. The workshop took place in the meeting room of the United Methodist Church of Vista on S. Melrose Drive. The proposed new parks are for the Courthouse Site, a 2.97-acre location adjacent to the County Courthouse on Breeze Hill Road and the Matagual Drive Site, a 2-acre corner park at Matagual and Hacienda Drives.

  • Courthouse Site

Prior to the workshop, those attending were treated to a complimentary meal from La Taqueria Jalisco, served by Jose Melgar, Angelica Trieu and Celso Alberto, who served a choice of tacos with rice and beans and all the trimmings. Beginning at 5 pm, concerned Vista residents were given the opportunity to hear a presentation about the proposed parks and the process. The first session dealt with the Courthouse Site. Imelda Huerta, Assistant City Manager, welcomed those in attendance and introduced Recreation and Community Services Director Mike Pacheco. Mike spoke about the process the residents would be involved in this evening. Mike also introduced a number of city officials in attendance. Next on the agenda was District 3 Council Member and Deputy Major Katie Melendez who explained how the two sites were obtained by the city and the importance of the process to obtain resident’s input. Katie said, “It is important we value what the residents have to say and that they are a part of the decision-making process to make sure these parks suit the needs of the community.” She also said, “I am glad there was such a good turnout for this meeting, and this is not the last of the meetings about these parks.” Next introduced was Neelay Bhatt, Founder & CEO of Next Practice Partners, one of the companies involved in the workshop. Neelay enthusiastically discussed how important this part of the park planning process was. The next presenter was Greg Meek, from RHA Landscape Architects Planners, Inc. Greg discussed how the information provided tonight would be used to draft a survey that Vista residents would be able to respond to in order to gather more information about what people wanted to see in these parks. It is hoped the survey will be available by September for Vista residents. He encouraged people to go to www.planvistaparks.com to stay up to date on the planning process and progress.

Greg then dismissed the audience to proceed to one or more of the large maps of the Courthouse site, obtained by drone pictures. Next to the pictures were cutouts of a number of typical amenities found in some parks – tables, benches, ponds, children’s play areas, trees, sidewalks, dog parks, tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, etc. Also on the tables were yellow sticky pads where people could write down specific things they felt were the most important things that either the park should have or considerations that should be made. Walking around the room and looking at the maps and what people were writing down, these are some of the items seen written down – dog parks was one of the most seen items, drought tolerant plants, sand volleyball courts, shaded areas for Seniors, exercise stations, picnic tables, skateboard park and much more. One of the maps had a number of concerns written down such as Save the storks, Save the owls, Save the lizards, Save the squirrels. There was also an individual passing out literature on what some studies show about the dangers of artificial turf, according to those studies.

Close to 6 pm, this part of the process ended, the maps of Courthouse Site and all of the notes that had been put on them were picked up and maps of the Matagual Drive Site were put on the tables. Those still in attendance were welcome to stay and take part with the next group. The La Taqueria Jalisco had stayed open for the next group arriving as well. A number of residents concerned with the Matagual Drive Site began to arrive, then the process began again with Imelda welcoming the residents, introducing the speakers, including Vista Council Member Daniel O’Donnell, from District 4, who spoke to the new group about the importance of this part of the process. After the presentations and speakers, the process of putting sticky notes and diagrams on the maps started, this time placing the items on the drone pictures of the Matagual Site.

The beginning of the process of determining what residents of Vista would like for these two new parks has now begun. Residents are reminded to be on the lookout for a survey that will appear several months from now. You can always go to www.planvistaparks.com or www.cityofvista.com/engage to stay abreast of where the park planning process is and what the next steps are in creating these new parks and the timelines.

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