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Fairview Park committee debates park additions

Panel examines 12 suggestions for the park's southwest quadrant and approves two: bike paths and landscaping.

April 03, 2014|By Bradley Zint

At one point Wednesday evening, Richard Mehren wondered aloud if any of the 34 ideas suggested for Fairview Park last summer were going to be discussed, much less happen.

As the chairman of the park's citizens advisory committee led the conversation for possible additions to the park's 95-acre southwest quadrant, he saw idea after idea receiving little feedback and consequently being scrapped.

"Thirty-four items, and we don't get anybody standing up for them," said Mehren, a retired dentist.

Twelve of those items were debated Wednesday, with two receiving preliminary approvals: improving bike paths and planting more native and drought-tolerant landscaping.

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Among the 10 discarded ideas was a nature center with bird-watching platforms. The group was split in February on adding such platforms in the park's northwest quadrant.

Similar concerns were raised about the platforms again, particularly if they would be used as a hangout for illegal activity.

Committee member Terry Cummings questioned a need for them and if they would be effective for watching birds.

"A platform would be like fishing," he said. "You're always in the wrong spot."

Committee member Ron Amburgey pointed out what he saw as a contradiction: The park's nature activists seem "perfectly fine" with having the Harbor Soaring Society there — whose powered airplanes noisily whir about the sky — yet couldn't express enthusiasm for bird-watching platforms.

The group also rejected adding an archery field, skate and dog parks, and roller hockey surface.

Resident Cindy Black called the roller hockey suggestion "ridiculous ... that and the archery. I don't know whose bright idea that was."

A dog park in Fairview was suggested years ago, though ultimately rejected, Mehren said.

"If it's been taken out, leave it out," said resident Margaret Mooney, who called the idea "destruction of the park."

Amburgey, quipping that he was "speaking on behalf of all those dogs in the city," said he would favor adding a dog park, but elsewhere in Fairview Park.

The Bark Park on the other end of town, near the Orange County Fairgrounds, is very popular, he said, and the city's Westside could use one as well.

In March, for the southwest quadrant, the committee rejected plans for softball/baseball fields, basketball/handball courts and soccer fields. They approved ideas for adding picnic structures, improving information kiosks and better protection of the vernal pools.

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