Thursday, June 13, 2024

City Council Will Decide on $31.2 Million Cays Park Redesign

A mock-up of the preferred plan for Cays Park. City Photo.

Cays Park is one step closer to getting a $31.2 million makeover: City Council will consider a finalized, preferred plan for park updates at a May 21 meeting.

The updates to the city’s largest park include a larger, fenced dog park; an ADA-accessible play space, fabric shade structures, a full-court basketball court, and more.

The plan will maintain 75% of existing field space for organized sports, and use the rest for other amenities.

“We didn’t propose any of these things ourselves without feedback and suggestions from the community,” said Glen Schmidt, founder of Schmidt Design Group, the agency that drafted the preferred plan, at a May 6 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.

Schmidt said that of the approximately 1,500 community points of contact the company used to draft its plan, some wanted no change, while others wanted significant change.

“It’s sort of like putting 10 gallons into a 5-gallon bucket,” he said. “We aren’t giving everyone everything that they wanted, but cumulatively, we are addressing community desire.”

The Parks and Recreation Commission approved the preferred plan, but with notes: Members suggested the city consider a portable toilet option to be placed near pickleball courts and that it consider including a skinned infield for the park’s softball field.

During public comment, many citizens in attendance spoke against any changes to the park, saying that they were unnecessarily costly and did not match the needs of those who already use the park. However, Schmidt said the plan reflected the results of a statistically valid survey the city conducted, and commissioners said the space deserved an upgrade.

“I appreciate everyone who says they don’t want to make changes,” said Commissioner Nellie Ritter, “but I feel this is an opportunity to do something really magnificent.”

The final plan includes eight pickleball courts and four tennis courts, an observation deck, and fitness stations. The parking lot will be reworked, as will a median on Silver Strand Blvd., which will allow for on-street parallel parking. Overall, the park will net two additional parking spaces, as well as drop-off spaces, under the preferred plan.

Construction could be phased or done concurrently, with each phase taking 10-13 months.

The design integrates cultural and natural themes of the Silver Strand Peninsula, with opportunities for public art in details like tiling, playground equipment, and even distance markers on running trails. At a separate park, Schmidt Design Group worked with the Kumeyaay Tribe to design trail markers featuring culturally significant artwork.

A recurrent concern among residents was the dog park at the greater park, which is unfenced. The new plan includes a fenced dog park, with double gates at each entrance.

City Council will consider the final plan, which can be viewed in its entirety here, at its May 21 meeting, at 3:30 p.m. in the Coronado City Council Chambers at 1825 Strand Way.

Megan Kitt
Megan Kitt
Megan has worked as a reporter for more than 10 years, and her work in both print and digital journalism has been published in more than 25 publications worldwide. She is also an award-winning photographer. She holds BA degrees in journalism, English literature and creative writing and an MA degree in creative writing and literature. She believes a quality news publication's purpose is to strengthen a community through informative and connective reporting.Megan is also a mother of three and a Navy spouse. After living around the world both as a journalist and as a military spouse, she immediately fell in love with San Diego and Coronado for her family's long-term home.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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