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Big Picture Park
Reaching Out - Not Narrowing Down
Ann Gardner | Via Latina


The Shores Park Advisory Committee (SAC) gets an early start every second Wednesday morning of the month overseeing a process to build community consensus for our new park site at Ninth Street and Stratford Court. They are excited about the soon to be an announced park consultant coming on board, a selection whittled down by their subcommittee from ten applicants to four “outstanding finalists.” At the top of their agenda is getting public input on what uses residents would like to see at the three and one-half acre space that is now occupied by the Del Mar Community Building, a playing field required, but not for exclusive use, by the Winston School lease and a parking lot.

What are the Committee’s goals for gathering community input? At last month’s meeting a lively discussion resulted in six major themes: gathering as many different ideas as possible; getting as wide a representation of the community involved as possible; learning how people want to use the park; understanding site parameters without limiting ideas; standing the test of time, and finding people who do not use the park now but might if designed differently.

How best to get that input was the follow up discussion: small group meetings, on-site workshops, mail and/or web surveys, booths at Farmer’s Market and community events, kid focused events to get their ideas (“I may want to picnic in the park at sunset,” one member said “but my kids might be more interested in a neighborhood football game”), and even door to door or street interviews to name a few identified. It was decided all of the above. We want to be ‘reaching out-not narrowing down,’ several members said. It was generally agreed that the word stakeholder would be limited to the Winston School which has a 55-year lease with the City, in order to avoid the impression that some residents have more of a say in potential park uses than others.

Committee member Nate McCay emphasized that the Committee itself was also a conduit where residents can provide input, whether by contacting individual committee members, at the public meetings every second Wednesday of the month at 8 a.m. or via the website www.delmar.ca.us/shorespark and clicking on Shores Advisory Committee to access Committee member names, agendas and minutes and to sign up for updates. The next meeting is scheduled for September 10 at 8 a.m. at the City Hall Annex.



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