Ann Gardner | Via Latina
|Photo illustration Art Olson.
Click to enlarge.
After more than a year’s hiatus, the Shores (Park Planning) Advisory Committee got back together on May 8 to work within a reduced landscape, one without the 1.8 acres City property leased by Winston School through 2053. The first order of business, requested by park consultants Schmidt Design, hired in 2015 to provide a plan for the park, was to get input on parking requirements for the smaller footprint. The 3.5 acre smaller L-shaped footprint includes the Community Center, the athletic field with specified hours for dogs, and the parking lot off Stratford.
The Committee took the reduced footprint news with apparent equanimity given their enthusiastic support for the collaborative plans with Winston they had approved for costing out in 2017. At the time the Committee had emphasized the benefit of additional open space by planning jointly for both properties.
But the School broke off from the collaborative plans that included all of the 5.3 acres at Stratford and 9th in April 2018. City staff explained that after a green light was given for the collaborative designs, Winston initiated discussions about their lease with the City, and eventually applied for the Citizen Participation Program to develop the 1.8 acres, separately. Dena Harris, head of Winston, clarified when asked about their long term commitment, “We are not leaving.”
The School held its second informal meeting with neighbors on May 23 with a commitment, according to Winston staff, to meet the December 2019 deadline in their lease for submitting plans to upgrade the facility and occupy by end of 2027. In 2007 Winston raised $3 million toward the City’s purchase of the property as prepaid rent that will last until May 2023.
On the parking question the Shores Advisory Committee reached a general consensus that there should be a balance between “less (parking) is more (park)” and the transportation needs of seniors visiting the Community Center. Committee member Sissy Alsabrook added that it was also important to think ahead to the increased use by seniors of ride sharing services such as Uber/Lyft or, as Nate McCay added, DMCC shuttles that help reduce need for parking spaces. All agreed that the Park plan should emphasize a community, NOT a regional, destination.
Staff expects to takes its assessment of the parking requirements to City Council in June, moving toward two concept plans by Schmidt to be reviewed by the Committee in early fall. Assistant City Manager Kristen Crane emphasized that community input collected at the beginning of the Shores Park planning process in 2015-16 will be used.