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Fairview panel offers 3 ideas for park

Staff will now research the feasibility of adding a community garden, information kiosks and a nature center with bird-watching platforms.

December 05, 2013|By Bradley Zint

The Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee on Wednesday approved three suggestions for additions to the park, based on ideas the group generated earlier this year.

A majority of the nine-member committee favored adding a community garden, information kiosks with pamphlets, and a nature center with bird-watching platforms within the 208-acre park's northwest quadrant.

The three suggestions will be brought to city staff, who will research the feasibility of each before the committee's next meeting, scheduled for February.

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Public Services Director Ernesto Munoz said the initial investigation of each idea will be conceptual. In February, the panel will reexamine the three suggestions based on the city staff's input.

The initial investigation will not fully explore all possible biological, archaeological and environmental effects, Munoz noted.

Committee member Dennis Popp said he felt the community garden, possibly near the Santa Ana River, should be studied.

He added that one clear disadvantage is that the area's homeless would "probably raid the gardens."

"It's like any community gardens," Popp said. "There's going to be some squabbles ... some people are going to lose some tomatoes when they get ripe."

That portion of the park is not near any developments and is a buffer easement between the adjacent Lower Birds neighborhood and the Fairview Channel, which runs through the park. Pipes used by Mesa Water District and the Orange County Water District run under the area.

Ideas that either weren't voted on or didn't garner a majority vote included soccer and football fields, additional picnic structures, a dog park, an expanded concert area, a skate park, basketball and handball courts, and expansion of the Orange County Model Engineers' train route.

Concerning another idea that didn't get far — an archery range — committee member Terry Cummings said, "Somewhere along those bluffs would seem like a natural place for targets." He pointed to Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley, which has archery.

Committee member David Stiller opposed the idea. He cited safety concerns and liability for the city.

"In the absence of supervision, more or less on a 24-hour basis, we're asking for trouble," Stiller said.

The city also has trouble enforcing the Volcom Skate Park rules, including the wearing of safety gear like kneepads, he said.

"I don't want someone out there with a bow and arrow playing Wild West without supervision," Stiller said.

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