Submitted by Kevin Reilly
The purpose of this letter is to invite and encourage all adult Cays residents to take the 2023 Cays Park Options Survey at cayspark.weebly.com and explain why it is so important for them to do so now.
As you probably know, the City embarked on a Master Plan for Cays Park four years ago. I have been following it closely.
And as you no doubt also know, there are now four conceptual “options” for the park that have been developed by the Schmidt Design Group.
The position of the Coronado Futbol Club is simple and clear: they want as much field space as they can get. Their desires are easy to understand.
My belief is that the communication between Cays residents, the City, and the landscape architect has not been entirely adequate up to this point, and that now we are essentially being forced to quickly comment on plans we have scarcely had time to become familiar with or talk about amongst ourselves.
Cays Park is really our only City park and viewpoints in our community about what it should be vary widely. Compared to the Futbol Club, the complexity of the situation for us makes our desires as a community difficult to consolidate, and thus to express.
At the same time, City staff are absolutely intent on getting the “big decision” – just how much soccer will dominate the park – completed before Thanksgiving. The decision could be made by the City Council on November 7th, or it could be November 21st; they haven’t said yet.
Because of this entirely self-imposed rush they asked the HOA Board to move up their regular meeting, and the Board obliged. The plan now is that the City will present the park plans to the Board on October 19th, and then the Board will have just four working days to submit any comments they might want to make before the period for comments closes out.
This “hurry up and get it done” timeline will set the staff up to ask for the Council decision they want on November 7th.
Quite honestly, I feel like we are being railroaded. This is not the way to do business. Normally in Coronado when a big project is proposed the plans are put up in the library for at least a couple of months to give the community plenty of time to look at them and discuss them amongst themselves. In this case the big display boards should be posted in the HOA office as well.
But this time, instead, we have had three two-hour bam-bam sessions to do nothing more than take a quick look at the plans and then immediately do nothing more than put pro and con “post-it” notes on white boards. Under these rushed conditions the preponderance of comments are likely to be superficial because no one has had time to do anything else. Then the staff is going to “consolidate” what they have received for their presentation to the Council.
With 70+ years of family history in the Village, and a lot of civic engagement over those years, I feel like I know how this works, and it isn’t good. There can be an enormous amount of “slippage” between the post-it notes and feedback the staff gets, how they interpret it, and what they ultimately pass through to the Council. It is a process that does not work well for complex topics like the plans for Cays Park.
The 2023 Cays Park Options Survey is a means whereby every adult resident in the Cays can quickly and equally “speak” directly to the Council without any “interpretation” or “filtering” involved. The data is the data. And although there are only 10 questions they hopefully cover every important thing you might be thinking about regarding the park. Every question is designed to enable you to express your viewpoint no matter what it is, from “do nothing at all” to “let’s do everything.”
Two years ago the 2021 Cays Park Survey had a phenomenal response rate of 518 residents (out of about 1200 homes) and it was instrumental in protecting the interests of Cays residents at a critical point in this Master Plan project.
My sense is that we are at a critical juncture again, and that it is essential that we again make our voices heard – very quickly, because of the staff’s rush this time.
Consequently I hope, and request, and will even beg if I have to (!), that you make your views known on the 2023 Cays Park Options Survey at cayspark.weebly.com.
There are only 10 questions and it only takes a very-few minutes to complete.
Would you like to talk about it? Please feel free to give me a call anytime. My contact information is on the website. I am your neighbor and I think we should have a park that is the best compromise of what we all would most like to see.
Editor’s Note: Find related Cays Park articles and past meeting info here.