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Surveys show wants in parks

CARLSBAD — The Parks & Recreation Commission received an update on the overhaul of the Parks Master Plan for Pine Avenue, Poinsettia and Aviara Community Parks.

Neelay Bhatt, vice president of PROS Consulting, Inc., spoke Tuesday to the commission about what he’s heard from the community thus far.

He said his team administered a statistically reliable survey to find out what the community wants and what needs weren’t being met.

The city has also been hosting workshops to get community input. About 120 to 150 residents have come to the meetings to give their two cents, said special projects manager Mick Calarco.

An online crowdsourcing website was also launched for residents who couldn’t attend the projects in person. People can log on and give input to each particular park until the end of September.

Bhatt said the site is so impressive, he used it to show Parks & Recreation officials in Illinois best practices for government crowd sourcing websites.

The city contracted with RHA Landscape Architects along with PROS Consulting to update the parks’ master plans.

The project planners expect to have the plans ready to show the commission by Nov. 12. The commission will then be able to either approve it, or ask for changes.

The team has a general idea of what will be at each park, said Bhatt, but is still getting community input.

Bhatt stressed the importance of creating plans that have the greatest utilitarian use and said some projects have huge unmet needs, but not by many people.

“Cricket in Carlsbad is a huge unmet need… for all of five people. It’s not a true community priority,” said Bhatt.

Bhatt said the team realized the community doesn’t want a tennis pro shop and stadium court at the Poinsettia Community Park, according to best practices and priority rankings.

He said the community wants focus on a broader, multi-generational space, like a community center.

People have also said they want a BMX track, a community garden and a dog park, so the team is looking into implementing those at Poinsettia Community Park.

At Aviara, the team has decided not to put in a community center but is looking at the possibility of a dog park and a pickle ball court.

If everything goes according to plans, the updates to the parks will begin in 2015.

First, the Parks & Recreation Commission must approve the plans in November. After commissioners approve it, the plan will move to the City Council, likely in December.

“From a relative standpoint, we’re actually moving pretty quickly,” said Bhatt.

The commissioners were relieved community members can still go online to give input and will hear back from the consulting team in November.