By Mike Phillips
The Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board (CRAAB) made some progress at last night’s meeting, which was devoted primarily to improvements of parking lots C and D and the green space between them and the new seawall portion.
First the parking: That design has been tinkered with for a couple of months, and now CRAAB is ready to recommend it to the city commission. It includes 74 spaces, which it had before design work began. Many of the spaces are angled for easier parking access, the double spaces for vehicles and their boat trailers are as before, and better turnaround space at the south end will help larger vehicles. The parking spaces are to code, and they are well-sized for use in the annual petanque tournament that draws visitors from around the world.
The inward side of the parking area will have low curbs, with walk-throughs into the park.
A very active discussion followed over two conceptual plans for the green space beyond the parking. Both those plans were highly detailed, but the board ultimately voted to avoid submitting a lot of detail and to focus on key elements that should be included:
- Some space for year-round use by resident petanque enthusiasts.
- A lot of shade. The current swath of open space can be brutal in the summer.
- The current walkway is around the outside of the area, and one or two more walkways should wind through the space.
- The largest grassy area should have a small pavilion on one side where intimate musical and other events could be staged.
- There should be bathrooms — likely in a central location near the parking lot.
- Visitors should be easily able to view the water and the marina boats from most locations.
- Perhaps a small play area for children – but no equipment.
- The new city manager, Ty Ross, dropped by with an interesting challenge: Come up with a cool name for the park. Something to stir up enthusiasm.
All in all, what’s emerging is a relaxing, restful place whose resident spirit is Mother Nature.
The next step will be a consultation with the parks and recreation people and then, the board hopes, a submission of the plan in December or January at the latest.