After studying the feasibility of a large community center at Poinsettia Park and an outdoor adventure park at one of two future park sites for more than a year, industry experts hired by the city are not recommending they proceed. The results of the studies will be presented to the Carlsbad City Council on Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Carlsbad Senior Center, 799 Pine Ave.
In March of 2015, the city completed a master plan to determine Carlsbad’s current and future parks and recreation needs. The plan was based on community input, city demographics and industry trends. The consultant hired by the city to complete the plan recommended two “big ideas” based on the data. One was a large multiuse multigenerational community center featuring elements such as gymnasium, multipurpose spaces and aquatic amenities. The second was an outdoor adventure park featuring ropes and obstacle courses, zip lining and a BMX pump track.
Both would be positioned as regional and visitor attractions in addition to being available for local residents, and both would be geared toward recovering a significant portion of their operating costs through user fees and other revenues.
The multiuse, multigenerational community recreation center was proposed for Poinsettia Community Park, where a community center was part of the original 1992 park master plan and the most recent plan, updated in 2014. Consultants studied two locations for the outdoor adventure park; Zone 5 Park, on the corner of Faraday Avenue and Camino Hills Drive, and the future Veterans Park site, near Faraday Avenue and Cannon Road.
Based on feedback from the community gathered through surveys and public meetings, 70 percent favored the community center, and 80 percent liked the adventure park idea.
The main hurdle for the large, multigenerational community center was parking. Consultants studied parking and use patterns at Poinsettia Park and found that the largest community center that could reasonably be accommodated at that site was about half the size of the project originally envisioned. As a result, there wouldn’t be enough room for an indoor pool and other features unique to the center. The city’s existing community centers at Stagecoach Community Park and Calavera Hills Community Park are about 20,000 square feet. The city is currently building a new community center at Pine Park that will be about 18,000 square feet.
The adventure park also faced obstacles that couldn’t reasonably be overcome. One of the potential locations, Zone 5 Park, was found not to be large enough to create the kind of park that would attract users from throughout the region. Its location next to a neighborhood would also make noise and other impacts a concern.
Veterans Park has a portion set aside for park development and a portion that needs to remain natural habitat and open space. It was determined that the noise, lighting and other impacts from an adventure park would likely not be compatible with the surrounding environment.
“Even though the studies found the two ideas infeasible, the input and analysis we got from this process will be really helpful as we develop our future parks projects,” said Mick Calarco, a special projects manager for the Parks & Recreation Department who oversaw the studies. “It’s important for us to keep our eyes on community priorities and trends in how people like to spend their free time so we can make sure we’re set up to meet those needs long into the future.”
For example, Calarco said the new community center at Pine Avenue Community Park, currently under construction, is adjacent to the city’s senior center and will provide opportunities for multiple generations to come together. Future park projects may be able to accommodate some of the adventure park ideas, although at a smaller scale.