Sunday, June 23, 2024

Community Encouraged to Weigh in on Cays Park Proposals, Learn About Options 100, 75, 50, 25

Courtesy of City of Coronado

Big changes are in the works for Coronado Cays Park, the city’s largest park with an expansive sixteen acres. The master planning process began back in 2019 and included community workshops and surveys, but the effort was halted in part due to the pandemic; after which, residents had increased interest in passive and unprogrammed active uses, while balancing organized sports usage.

Since a comprehensive restart of the project in 2021, the city has heard about new desires and priorities for Cays Park with a much higher level of community engagement. In early 2023, the City hired renowned community park planners, Schmidt Design Group, to manage the project. In May 2023, the city’s park design team led by the Schmidt Design Group, in partnership with True North Research, conducted a citywide survey of Coronado residents to determine what amenities and features they would like to see at Cays Park.

City Manager Tina Friend welcomed the approximately 125 attendees at the Coronado Cays Yacht Club on Tuesday, September 12 and gave a brief introduction of the Cays Park Master Plan. She expressed that she has been amazed at the passion that residents have for the park’s design, which started as a small irrigation project and upgrade and has now become a complete renovation. She introduced Glen Schmidt of Schmidt Design Group who spearheaded this project and whose team came up with four designs, based on direction by city council, various community organizations, and resident input from 464 household surveys, as well as public meetings.

From this input, the most requested improvements were shade trees, paths for walking and jogging, bike amenities, children’s playground equipment, a dog park barrier, view areas to watch the sunset, multi-use sports fields, picnic areas, and additional restrooms. Dog lovers will be happy to learn that all four concepts include a larger dog park, complete with barriers, which 83 percent of respondents requested. In all options, the height of portions of the existing block wall will be reduced to allow for ocean viewing.

Going forward, Schmidt emphasized that they want to continue listening to the community. “We think that there is something for everyone in these designs and now residents can pick the features and themes they like, and they can then be layered together for a final plan,” he commented. Emphasizing that each of the four options has a theme with layered details to tell the stories through design so the park can exude a sense of place.

The process of compiling all the initial data was the Discover Phase. Sharing the four proposed plans is part of the Explore Phase, in which input will be solicited at the three public meetings and from public comments submitted on the city’s Project Coronado website. The final phase is the Envision Phase, where all the ideas will culminate in a final design, which will be presented to city council by early next year.

Schmidt presented the four designs which meet the criteria, as directed by the city council, to look at retaining 100, 75, 50, and 25 percent of current open space for active use.


The Option 100 theme is “Beauty of the Islands,” which would celebrate the architecture with white walls and hand painted tiles. Highlights of this option include:

  • Provides an additional 1.7 acres for the park by narrowing the two lanes on Coronado Cays Blvd., and creating three roundabouts, which would be similar to La Jolla Blvd.
  • Dog park would expand from the existing 1.5 acres to 1.65 acres
  • Four active use fields would retain the existing 7.4 acres
  • An additional tennis court is proposed, bringing the total to four courts
  • The eight existing pickleball courts would remain
  • The parking total would increase by nine spaces to 145 spaces
  • This plan includes one full basketball court
  • The existing skinned infield would be removed, and a backstop in turf would be added
  • A remodeled larger restroom is proposed
  • This plan includes a game area, fitness zone with a walking loop around the park, and sunset and kite hill


Option 75 is themed “Wonders on the Water,” which draws inspiration from the military and private vessels, and shade structures would resemble sails. Key elements of this plan include:

  • No change to road
  • The dog park would expand to two acres
  • Three active field areas, which would bring the size to 5.7 acres
  • Add one tennis court to bring the total to four courts
  • The number of pickleball courts (eight) would remain the same but they would be separated from tennis courts
  • An additional 30 parking spaces would be added bringing the total to 166 spaces
  • One full basketball court
  • The existing skinned infield would be removed
  • One larger remodeled bathroom combined with the maintenance building
  • Includes game area, fitness zone, and sand volleyball area near children’s playground
  • Cantilevered pier-like decks would be used, and maritime navigation would be depicted
  • Access to Silver Strand Nature’s Bridge hiking and bike path


Option 50 is inspired by “The Natural and Cultural Wonders of the Silver Strand,” including the Russian Springs with natural trails and mounds to reflect dunes.

  • The dog park would increase to 1.88 acres
  • Two active field areas, which would decrease the area to 4.29 acres
  • Add one tennis court to bring the total to four courts
  • Twelve pickleball courts (up from eight)
  • Increase parking by 30 spaces to 166 spaces
  • For basketball, two half courts are proposed
  • Remove existing skinned infield and add one backstop in turf
  • Two restrooms
  • Includes fitness zone, playground, picnic area, sunset, and kite hills
  • Flexible area to set up stage for concerts, movies, art shows, etc.
  • Access to Silver Strand Nature’s Bridge hiking and bike path


Option 25 reflects “The Wonder of Flight,” which focuses on birds and planes with North Island as inspiration. Schmidt noted that shade structures could be formatted as bird shapes, and be sculptural in nature, like flocks flying to the ocean.

  • The dog park would increase to 2.52 acres
  • One active field area, size decrease to 2.55 acres
  • Adding one tennis court to bring the total to four courts
  • Keep eight pickleball courts
  • Increase parking by 38 spaces to 174 total spaces
  • One full basketball court
  • Remove existing skinned infield
  • Add additional restroom for a total of two
  • Includes a fitness trail
  • Add pond to celebrate Russian Springs, which could be used for model boats
Attendees got to give their opinions on the new proposed Cays Park designs at the first of three meetings on September 12.

After the presentation, residents were invited to view the proposed renderings and write their suggestions on Post-it notes. Attendees appeared pleased at this first peek at possibilities for the newly envisioned Cays Park and were engaged in giving their feedback.  To view the full September 12 presentation, the video can be found on YouTube.

Two more community meetings are planned. The next will be held at Cays Park, near the dog park, on Wednesday, September 27 from 4 to 6 pm. Following that, on Thursday, October 5, from 4 to 6 pm, information will be shared in the Coronado Public Library lobby.  Drops-ins are welcome any time at both meetings, which will not have an official presentation, but will have representatives on hand to explain the four options and seek input on each design. Residents can also give input on the city website at




Jennifer Velez
Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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