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    Santa Paula: East Area 1 Regional Sports Park

    By Sheryl Hamlin

    The last item on the June 5, 2019 council meeting, a six hour series of meetings starting at 4:00 pm, was the presentation of the East Area 1 Regional Sports Park. City Manager Rock said he was involved with the park initially, but turned it over to the Assistant City Manager (ACM) when he saw its complexity. ACM Ikani Taumoepeau managed to keep everyone awake and smiling during the presentation.

    Park History

    The parks were defined in the original 2008 Development Agreement (DA). Click here and select Ordinance 1191, which is described as follows:

    Ordinance 1191 – This Ordinance includes background information, findings and recommended actions as it relates to adopting a Development Agreement for the East Area 1 development project pursuant to Government Code §§ 65864, et seq.


    The various parks in the 2008 DA are defined as shows below:

    The DA was restated in 2015. Read this agreement here. Note that the Sports Park has been moved out to the 750th Certificate of Occupancy (CoO). The agreement says that 23 of the 37 acres will be active sports (page 6).

    The Specific Plan was updated in 2015 and can be read here. The sports park is defined as part of the Civic Center neighborhood. With respect to water the Specific Plan says:

    Domestic Water Demands. The annual average water demand for the proposed EA1SP is 1,331.9 AFY. The demand estimates use a domestic demand of 163 gallons per day per person (see Table 3-1). Of this total, 1,015.9 AFY is potable water demand and 316.0 AFY is non-potable water demand for irrigation of parks, athletic fields, and agricultural preserves.

    EA1 was built with piping for recycled water, but the City of Santa Paula does not have the infrastructure to move the water to EA1 nor is the water from the wastewater plant certified for irrigation due to the high level of chlorides. The State of California’s water reuse goal is a regular increase in the use of recycled water. There was no discussion about water at the meeting.

    Recent Park History and Planning

    The Planning Commission reviewed the plan, but was not asked for a vote. Read about that meeting here . At the Planning Commission hearing, Director Mason said the goal is 1.5 acre of park per 1000 people. The EA1 Sports Park will bring the city in-line with this metric.

    On June 5, 2019, the ACM explained to council how his team canvassed the east side of town to alert residents to the various community meetings, which were conducted in both English and Spanish.

    What is in the EA1 Regional Sports Park?

    From the staff report, the popular features are: Sports Courts, Sports Fields and Snack Bar, BBQ Grills/Hot Coal Bin & Pavilions, Restrooms, Trash & Dog Waste Stations, Kiosks, Amphitheater. According to the ACM, the amphitheater was the number one choice.

    See plan here or in the Santa Paula library. Note the area in the lower left. This is a dog park. There was considerable dissucion about the configuration of this dog park and the city’s liability. The extension of Santa Paula Street over the creek which enters into the park is dependent on federal approval of the NMFS (National Marine Fisheries) and Army Corps of Engineers.

    List of Features from Plan


    The city has identified $11 million for construction ($6 from the Development Agreement and $5 from transferring funds for the canceled EA1 Civic Center) and has applied for another $6 million in grants. CM Rock said that they hoped to know about one of the grants in June. Note that the developer will recoup the $11 million via the Mello Roos funding.

    The City hopes to generate revenue from rentals of the various areas, like amphitheatre, soccer fields and barbecue pits, and possibly swim lessons. The pool, said the ACM, will be a placeholder, until the full costs are known.

    The staff report said that the O&M (Operations & Maintenance) would be $6k – $12k/park acreage which would be $222K to $444k for a 37 acre park, but this is about half what the consultant suggested in the detailed report..

    The council voted to approve the conceptual design, which allows the landscape architect to create a more detailed plan from which costs may be derived. There was no mention of:1) payment to the architect, 2) who hired this firm, 3) and/or how the firm was hired. No one asked what the total design budget is and are the design expenses subtracted from the $11 million.

    Former Mayor Gherardi spoke in Public Comments saying she has a team ready to start fundraising. The 501 c(3) documents have been drawn up and submitted to the city, she said. With interest rates expected to drop, the endowment will need $50 million earning 2% to produce one million dollars without touching the principle. There was no discussion about these matters or alternative funding approaches.

    Previous articles on this park:



    Regional Park Concept

    Special Council Study Session

    To watch the video click here.

    For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

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