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Needs Assessed for City Parks, Recreation

Assistant City Manager Lucy Garcia receives input on future projects residents would like to see in San Marino. Garcia hosted a parks and recreation needs assessment workshop on Feb. 18. Krista Daly Photo
Assistant City Manager Lucy Garcia receives input on future projects residents would like to see in San Marino. Garcia hosted a parks and recreation needs assessment workshop on Feb. 18. Krista Daly Photo

Ten projects relating to Parks and Recreation have been distinguished as the top priorities of the city of San Marino.

Assistant City Manager Lucy Garcia led a needs assessment with community members on Thursday, Feb. 18 to help determine what San Marino residents would like to see renovated, added or constructed within the Parks and Recreation sphere of influence. Approximately 10 people attended.

Here’s what made the list: repair the Rose Arbor; repair the restrooms at Lacy Park; repair Stoneman; replace trees and add native planting at Lacy Park; replace the outer loop of Lacy Park and add a senior playground and a reflexology walk; replace the irrigation system at Lacy Park; add more park space or a parklette; construct a senior center; and construct a community performance center. Only nine projects were identified, but Garcia said she could break up the list a little to create 10.

Garcia said she wasn’t too surprised with the ideas that were discussed. It seems that people are craving something unique at the park – something they cannot get anywhere else.

The senior playground, for instance, was a surprising idea, said Community Services Manager Rosa Pinuelas. The idea would be to add low-impact exercise equipment designed for flexibility, balance and coordination along a path at Lacy Park.

Additionally, a reflexology walking path, made of smooth stones, which are very popular in China, could provide a massage to the feet while providing other benefits such as relieving stress and improving a person’s well-being.

The Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment workshop was held as part of a county-wide survey that includes 189 jurisdications. A report will be presented to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for review.

The county was clear in stating, “This workshop is not a promise to complete any of these projects in our community.” Instead, the purpose is to understand the needs in each jurisdiction and help determine potential future projects.

San Marino has benefitted from county grant funding in the past under Proposition 12 and Proposition 40. For example, the Thurner House was able to be renovated, and extra money was included in the grant for maintenance work. Irrigation work was also completed thanks to the county grant.

History of Past Surveys

Several surveys have been conducted in the past. In 2001, the Lacy Park Master Plan was created. Top likes and dislikes were discussed by residents as to what they wanted in the park. They liked the open space, trees, natural character, ambience and the rose garden. They did not like the main park entry, the maintenance yard, the parking or the tennis courts.

The most important issues at the time were parking, maintenance and the restrooms.

Residents wanted to see many things renovated in Lacy Park, too, much of which has been worked on since that time.

A Lacy Park Vision Plan was created in 2009. Some of the issues brought up by residents included irrigation, drainage, playground equipment, storage, restrooms, recycling bins, weekend use, the Thurner House, the rose garden and evening summer programs.

For recreation, people wanted more programming for older adults, recreational facilities at San Marino schools, services at The Huntington as well as Old Mill and Woman’s Club repairs.

A new strategic plan was completed in 2012 where the same themes continued. San Marino residents wanted to enhance public facilities, upgrade and enhance infrastructure and maintain fiscal stability.

Just a year later, about 900 people participated in a survey that was conducted exclusively for Parks and Recreation. For Lacy Park, residents wanted to see an update to the paths, restrooms, trash receptacles, playground equipment and benches. They also wanted a splash pad for the children.

For recreation, residents said some priority items included a community center, senior center, pool, basketball courts, tennis facilities and a facility space for adults. Additionally, repairs to Stoneman was on the list, plus program variety.

The city has seen a trend of what residents want throughout the years. It continues today. The 10 items identified just recently can be considered by the city council as funding becomes available and they plan projects for the future.

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