Huntington Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a concept plan that would add several fields to Edison Park while keeping dozens of mature trees in space.
The council voted unanimously to approve one of three options presented by the city’s library and community services department. The main distinction between the option chosen and the other two was that it would remove a proposed 57-space parking area and a dog-only area in the north area of ââthe park along Stillwell Drive.
âStaff will certainly provide offsite parking alternatives to meet peak hour parking needs,â said Chris Slama, director of community and library services. âWe have already had conversations with Edison High School, as well as with the [Huntington Beach] City school district. They are definitely open to discussion, to see what kind of options there would be for sharing space.
With nearly 40 acres, Edison Park is one of the city’s largest parks. Neighbors spoke at the council meeting about traffic issues, as well as environmental concerns related to the removal of mature trees.
Tamara McClory of RGM Design Group said in a presentation that the Edison Park renovation process began in May, to develop a conceptual master plan based on community input and professional analysis. She said the various online surveys and community workshops brought together a total of 623 participants.
Edison Park’s concept plan would include four new full and half-court basketball courts and two new tennis courts. Two existing tennis courts would be converted into eight pickleball courts. The new sports grounds along Magnolia Street would result in the removal of several large eucalyptus trees.
Two new soccer fields for children under 10 would be superimposed on the two existing softball fields. In addition, three more football fields 50 by 70 meters would be added in the southern part of the park along Hamilton Avenue, owned by Southern California Edison.
“Talking with the football groups that would use them, these would be mainly used for the training space,” Slama said. âWe don’t need to limit ourselves to these particular dimensions. From what I’ve gathered from football groups, the more space the better.
The Edison Park skate spot that launched in July would be expanded and a pump run would be provided for cyclists.
Although Slama said around 200 new trees would be planted, tree advocates showed up at Tuesday’s meeting to protest after the plan initially approved last week would have removed around 20 large trees, mostly pines, and placed the parking lot along Stillwell Drive.
Longtime Southeast Huntington Beach resident Nancy Buchoz told council adjustments needed to be made to protect trees “on the chopping block.” She formed a group with her friend Betty Flynn called Friends of Edison Park about a year ago, to schedule cleanups and discussions at the park.
âI didn’t think I was a tree hug, but I guess I am,â she said. âBy removing the gates and fences and making the fields longerâ¦ the trees are going to be cut down. They’re like 50 year old trees, 48 ââyears old to be exact, and there has to be some way to meet all the needs.
Bill Craig said he frequented the park with his family to play tennis and basketball, as well as to hang out.
âI think the team did a good job with the park,â he said. âI am particularly excited to see the addition of a pumping lane. It’s something people of all ages can enjoy – people who use skateboards, scooters, bikes, anything on wheels. It’s something different and something cool.
Ultimately, the council voted for the amended plan. City Councilor Erik Peterson suggested hanging banners around the park to stimulate greater community involvement.
âThanks for listening and making some changes,â Peterson told Slama. âIf you want to participate more, the banners are pretty cheap. “
The next steps will be to carry out geotechnical and engineering studies, and to increase community awareness, in order to develop a more formal plan. Slama said a lot more research needs to be done before determining a price.
The project website is bit.ly/hbedisonpark.
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