commission agendas

Agendas for meetings of the Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Commission

The Parks and Recreation Commission is holding a series of meetings to deal with the proposed “Parks Master Plan” (PMP), a document that is expected to be forwarded to the Santa Cruz City Council for approval in August, 2017. A copy of the current Draft of the PMP may be easily obtained by clicking here. Appendices to the Draft PMP are here.

The Commission typically meets on Monday afternoons, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, in the Santa Cruz City Council chambers. The current meeting schedule, as posted on the Parks and Recreation Department's website, is as follows:

  • May 1, 2017: Park Master Plan Priorities Discussion. (The agenda is here. See more details below.)
  • June 12, 2017: Mountain Bike Trails.
  • July 10, 2017: Finalizing Park Master Plan Priorities.
  • August 7, 2017: Final Discussion of Parks Master Plan.
The initial paragraphs below were posted prior to May 1, 2017. A summary of what happened at the meeting is now posted following these paragraphs.

The Parks and Recreation Commissioners, at their upcoming meeting on May 1, 2017, are being asked by their staff to prioritize 80 proposed “Actions” to be taken, as part of the “Parks Master Plan” (PMP) now under preparation. The full agenda packet for this meeting is posted here.

The relevant part of the agenda packet, the 9-page staff report about “Park Master Plan 2030 Priority Actions”, is here. It's a curious document, worth looking at. It contains this line:

VISION ➜ 7 GOALS ➜ 80 ACTIONS ➜ 143 PROJECTS = ENHANCED PARK SYSTEM
The commissioners are being asked to rank the 80 “ACTIONS”, specifying a priority of “1” (low), or “4” (medium) or “7” (high) for each.

However, the “ACTIONS” are vague and broad, and there is no comprehensive list of the 143 PROJECTS included in each ACTION to be found, either in the agenda packet or in the Draft of the Parks Master Plan.

For example, under GOAL III, Action 9 states “Develop, improve, and enhance mountain bike trail system”, but says nothing at all about what PROJECTS this refers to. If a Commissioner (or a Council member) would like to see the mountain bike trail system enhanced in DeLaveaga Park, but not in the Pogonip, how should he or she rank this action? Why is it not possible to rank the individual PROJECTS?

Keep in mind that this item (along with its staff report) was originally included at the end of the agenda for the previous meeting (on April 10), but this staff report was not made available for public review. At 6:10 pm on April 10, when the Commissioners were urged to accept this item, they objected, and it was continued to the meeting of May 1. The staff report has now been made visible to the public.


A summary of the meeting of May 1, 2017

A few of us attended the meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission on the afternoon of May 1. All seven commissioners were present:

Donna Meyers (Chair), J.M. Brown (Vice Chair), Maggie Duncan-Merrell, Gail Evans, John Falkowski, Hollie Locatelli and Lars Shallberg.

Department staff members were also present.

The commissioners were asked by Director Garcia to indicate their highest priorities (a "7" on the Director's scale), selected from among each of the 80 ACTION items listed on the Priority Ranking document.

So Chair Meyers invited each commissioner to speak in turn to indicate his or her selections.

There was interesting discussion, with many thoughtful remarks, especially as commissioners described their motivations for their votes. Here is a long summary of the ranking of the ACTIONS as we noted them (there may be errors). We group them in the order of the number of commissioners who supported each action:

――― Seven ―――

Action 5/Goal VII (Increase funding for parks) was endorsed by all seven commissioners.

――― Six ―――

Action 1/Goal I (Use sustainable landscaping design and maintenance practices to conserve water, prevent erosion and run-off, and provide habitat and food sources) was endorsed by six commissioners (Meyers, Brown, Duncan-Merrell, Evans, Locatelli and Shallberg).

Action 4/Goal IV (Protect and improve wildlife and wildlife habitat) was endorsed by six commissioners (Brown, Duncan-Merrell, Evans, Locatelli and Shallberg).

――― Five ―――

Action 1/Goal II (Continue to seek opportunities to purchase or lease additional parkland. Use criteria for deciding where to purchase property for new park development) was endorsed by five commissioners (Meyers, Brown, Falkowski, Locatelli and Shallberg).

Action 1/Goal III (Provide neighborhood park uses including, but are not limited to, off-leash dog use areas, ball fields, skateboard parks, tennis courts, basketball courts, ping-pong tables, playgrounds and tot-lots, climbing and exercise equipment, slack-lining, pickleball courts, community gardens, pump tracks, bocce courts, disk golf courses, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, sand volleyball courts, and other recreational activities when designed to minimize impacts to the surrounding neighborhood) was endorsed by five commissioners (Duncan-Merrell, Falkowski, Locatelli and two others).

Action 1/Goal IV (Develop a natural open space restoration work plan) was endorsed by five commissioners (Meyers, Brown, Evans, Falkowski and Shallberg).

Action 6/Goal V (Increase park ranger/police presence and interaction) was endorsed by five commissioners (Meyers, Brown, Duncan-Merrell, Evans and one other).

――― Four ―――

Action 7/Goal III (Renovate and maintain playgrounds to create more unique and interesting play experiences) was endorsed by four commissioners (Meyers, Brown, Evans and Locatelli).

Action 8/Goal III (Assure accessibility and safety on all City playgrounds) was endorsed by four commissioners (Duncan-Merrell, Evans, Locatelli and one other)

Action 3/Goal IV (Increase the number of large clean-up days to remove waste from illegal camping activities) was endorsed by four commissioners (Meyers, Duncan-Merrell, Evans and Locatelli).

Action 5/Goal IV (Protect water bodies, including creek systems, riparian environments, and wetlands) was endorsed by four commissioners (Brown, Duncan-Merrell, Evans and Shallberg).

Action 5/Goal V (Increase resources to remove trash and debris from illegal camping) received the endorsement of four commissioners (Brown, Evans, Locatelli and Shallberg).

Action 7/Goal V (Increase enforcement of park rules) was endorsed by four commissioners (Duncan-Merrell, Evans, Falkowski and Locatelli).

Action 2/Goal VI (Work with Public Works to help connect major parks throughout the City with smaller loop options and spur trails that connect to the bike and pedestrian system) was endorsed by four commissioners (Meyers, Duncan-Merrell, Falkowski and Shallberg).

Action 3/Goal VI (Promote alternative transportation by integrating bike trails and paths into City street pattern) was endorsed by four commissioners (Meyers, Brown, Duncan-Merrell and Locatelli).

Action 9/Goal VII (Utilize and support Friends of Parks and Recreation (FOPAR) to help in their fundraising, scholarship, and funding of smaller special projects to improve the parks system) was endorsed by four commissioners (Meyers, Duncan-Merrell, Locatelli and Shallberg).

――― Three ―――

Action 12/Goal I (Increase the number of restrooms at larger or highly utilized neighborhood park facilities) was endorsed by three commissioners (Evans, Falkowski and one other).

Action 14/Goal I (Provide an adequate level of service of restroom facilities and renovate existing restrooms to maintain a clean, safe, inviting appearance) was endorsed by three commissioners (Meyers, Brown and Evans).

Action 2/Goal II (Explore opportunities for partnerships with other agencies to use land outside but adjacent to the City to help fund larger facilities to meet unmet needs) was endorsed by three commissioners (Meyers, Duncan-Morrell and Shallberg).

Action 6/Goal III (Expand opportunities for informal sports play) was endorsed by three commissioners (Falkowski, Locatelli and Shallberg).

Action 9/Goal III (Develop, improve, and enhance mountain bike trail system) was endorsed by three commissioners (Duncan-Merrell, Falkowski and Locatelli).

Action 12/Goal III (Provide activities that improve physical activity and mental health for all ages, abilities, and interests) was endorsed by three commissioners (Meyers, Brown and Falkowski).

Action 17/Goal III (Consider partnerships to allow for public recreational uses in the permanent Kaiser Permanente Arena during the Santa Cruz Warriors off-season) was endorsed by three commissioners (Duncan-Merrell, Falkowski and Shallberg).

Action 10/Goal IV (Provide more interpretive signage in parks and open spaces and along waterways) was endorsed by three commissioners (Brown, Duncan-Merrell and Locatelli).

Action 4/Goal V (Explore partnerships and programs to provide mental health services in parks) was endorsed by three commissioners (Meyers, Brown and one other).

Action 4/Goal VI (Support a Felton-Santa Cruz recreational trail and transportation/commuter corridor) was endorsed by three commissioners (Duncan-Merrell, Locatelli and Shallberg).

Action 5/Goal VI (Develop trailheads to improve access and minimize conflicts between different uses) was endorsed by three commissioners (Meyers, Brown and Evans).

Action 2/Goal VII (Work with the Parks and Recreation Commission to establish annual priorities for capital improvement projects that are proposed to City Council) was endorsed by three commissioners (Meyers, Brown and Duncan-Merrell).

――― Two or fewer ―――

Other Actions were endorsed by two or fewer commissioners.


Note that the next meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission, to occur on Monday, June 12 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the City Council chambers, will be devoted to “Mountain Bike Trails”. Please attend this meeting if you can. We will post the agenda packet for the meeting when it becomes available, which should be on approximately Thursday, June 8.

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