OCEANSIDE — Buccaneer Park is due for a makeover, and the City of Oceanside wants to hear from the public about potential changes.
City staff is working on the new park project, which aims to create a vision for Buccaneer Park’s future. The project will include a special emphasis on the park’s restrooms, which are in need of an upgrade.
“It’s an older park that is in need of revitalization and improvements and the community recognizes that,” said Project Manager Jonathan Smith.
The city hosted its first public workshop about the park project to gather input from residents on what they want to see done to improve the park.
“We had a good turnout and received a lot of good input,” Smith said. “People expressed how much they love the park.”
Resident David Estrada has been coming to the park daily for years. The park and neighboring beach mean so much to the former surfer that he spread his father’s ashes on the beach after he died a few months ago.
“It’s peaceful here,” Estrada said. “It’s spiritual.”
Estrada plans to attend the next public workshop on the park, scheduled for July 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Main Street Farmer’s Market. He noted the bathrooms are in need of improvements and noted that he would like to see something done to help the homeless individuals that hang out around the park.
Smith stressed the importance of gathering as much input from the public as possible, noting the workshops as well as online surveys the city has on its webpage about the park project.
“It’s a community-driven project,” Smith said.
The city also wants the park project to mesh well with three other simultaneous projects in the area: the Coastal Rail Trail extension, the Loma Alta Wetlands Restoration project and the La Salina Wastewater Treatment Plan decommissioning process.
“All of us are working together to coordinate the projects,” said Buccaneer Park Project Manager Jonathan Smith. “It’s beneficial to coordinate all projects so you can identify potential impacts between the projects as well as opportunities to use spaces in that area that are currently unavailable for public use.”
The Loma Alta Slough project includes restoring and expanding wetland habitat, improving public access with trails and educational signage, and other benefits including additional habitat for wildlife, improved water quality, climate change resiliency and recreational opportunities. The city received a $1 million grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation for the project earlier this year.
Construction for the wetland project is anticipated to start in 2022.
The wetland area is located on the north side of Buccaneer Park and south of the La Salina Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city’s Water Utilities Department is overseeing the plant’s decommissioning process, which will require the construction of a lift station and force main, a pressurized sewer pipe, to take sewer flows from the plant and pump them to the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility.
Smith said Council has not yet acted on or provided direction for how the treatment plant’s property will be used after it’s completely decommissioned. He noted that the public would have some input as to how that property is used after.
The Coastal Rail Trail project is currently in its design phase as well.
“We know where the trail is going to be put,” Smith said. “We’re in the process of completing our environmental documents.”
After that, the city will enter its final design phase on the rail trail project as soon as a consultant is selected. The trail will be east of the park within the North County Transit District right-of-way.