The city of Oceanside is considering building two new gymnasiums at existing municipal parks to meet the growing local demand for more recreational opportunities.
During the council’s April 19 meeting, Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim and Councilmember Peter Weiss requested staff provide cost estimates for new gymnasiums at Joe Balderrama Park in the city’s Eastside Capistrano neighborhood, and John Landes Park, located in Oceanside’s Tri-City neighborhood.
“It’s well known that the city of Oceanside could use more resources and more places to participate in all types of recreational activities, whether it’s in fields or gymnasiums,” Keim said, who traveled to Washington D.C. seeking federal funds to establish recreational amenities.
“If we could add at least two more gyms, one west and one east, that would give kids more opportunities,” Keim said.
According to Keim, the idea is to outline two “shovel-ready” projects to bring to legislators with requests for specific funding. Keim said the city was one of the few in the state to receive state funding for its beachfront improvements project because it was shovel-ready at the time of the request.
Mayor Esther Sanchez, who voted in support of the John Landes Park decision, said the city recently received nearly $1.8 million to create a master plan for John Landes Park. Sanchez, who lives within 500 feet of Joe Balderrama Park, recused herself from that portion of the council’s decision.
Oceanside is experiencing a citywide shortage of multi-use sports fields and gymnasiums. Councilmember Eric Joyce said the city is approximately 1.4 gyms short of the goals outlined in the city’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Donal Yasukochi, a local basketball coach who runs programs at the Melba Bishop Recreation Center, voiced his support for building the new gymnasiums but said the facilities should be large enough to accommodate a multitude of sports with plenty of parking.
“I think it needs to be a huge facility,” Yasukochi said.
Joyce, a former Oceanside Unified School District trustee who currently serves as a liaison between the district and the council, said the district’s plan is to rebuild the Jefferson Middle School gym into a “full-sized gym.” If the city can work out an agreement to use the school’s new facility, Joyce said that could help to balance any size issues with the proposed park gyms.