VISTA — Bub Williamson Park is one step closer to getting improvements since the City Council approved portions of a conceptual design at its May 8 meeting. While members agreed on park improvements ranging from a brand-new playground area for children, new park tables and benches, shade structures over picnic areas, improved ADA pedestrian access and a restroom remodel, the council ultimately removed the dog park concept.
Bub Williamson Park is located at 530 Grapevine Lane in Vista.
The community was invited to take part in three workshops to discuss what elements were important to them in the park project.
Tony Winney, assistant to the city manager and project manager, presented the discussion item and current conceptual park design to the City Council based on the outcomes of those three public design workshops.
Winney said one of the council’s 2018-2020 goals was to improve existing park space and provide additional recreational amenities to its residents.
According to Winney, the city had $1.7 million in the current fiscal year for a capital improvement project budget for improvements to Bub Williamson Park.
“The park project has been reviewed by the Parks and Recreation Commission three times — most recently on March 26 of this year,” Winney said. “Bub Williamson Park was chosen as a capital improvement project in 2015 due to the deficiency of public park space in west Vista.”
Other motivating factors included the age of the park built in 1986 and the need for facility updates. Since 1986, Winney said, there were no significant updates.
Currently, the park has two softball fields, passive use area, seating, restrooms, snack bar and a few amenities.
In March 2017, the original scope of the CIP included an outdoor soccer arena and off-leash dog park. In August 2017, following feedback from the community, the soccer arena was removed from the design. More recently at the May 8 council meeting, the off-leash dog park was crossed off. Additionally, community members wanted the closing hours at 8 p.m., not 10 p.m., which the council agreed to.
In an effort to hone in on what Vistans wanted, the city brought on a landscape architecture firm to champion the three workshops. Two of them took place last November and the last on Feb. 22.
“During the first two public workshops, participants were asked to review the proposed scope of the project and the programming elements and then rank their top priorities,” he said.
Based on the workshop feedback, the council then directed city staff on what elements were important in the design moving forward. In the ranking structure, the No. 1 position went to security enhancements and activating the park. Renovating the restrooms was second followed by improving disabled pedestrian access. Next on the list were site furnishings such as tables and benches. A new children’s playground area was noted in addition to a new shade structure and picnic area. Public art and murals will also be incorporated into the project as well as fitness stations.
According to Vista Communications Officer Andrea McCullough, the final conceptual design will reflect the removal of the dog park and change the park hours to close at 8 p.m. Also expected is drought-tolerant landscaping in the design.
If the final conceptual design is approved, McCullough said it’s possible that a request for proposal bid would be likely in the fall of 2018.