A proposal to put a zip line in the city's next park may sound a bit farfetched, but there's a very real chance it may happen, city parks officials say.
However, don't imagine that you'll be zipping across hundreds of feet at 55 mph on this line.
"It's not the type of zip line that most people think of -- it's a kid zip line" attached to the playground equipment, city Parks & Recreation Director Jennifer Campbell said Thursday as she discussed possible amenities for the future park.
Referred to on city documents as the "Standard Pacific Park Site," the future park will occupy a 3.14-acre property on the southeast corner of Piraeus and Olympus streets. The now-vacant land has been slated for a park project ever since the Standard Pacific Homes development was built in 2000, city documents state.
Over the last several months, Encinitas' parks department has been hosting a series of public gatherings to find out what the community wants in its next park. During the final public session, which is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 12 at Capri Elementary School, the city-hired park consultants will unveil their proposed final design. The amenities they include in that design will be items that were frequently suggested by people at the recent public meetings, Campbell said.
The zip line in the playground "was a very popular item," she added.
Encinitas is considered an avid dog-lovers' town, so it came as no surprise to city parks officials that a play space for dogs also was an often-requested item.
In addition to those two play spaces for kids and dogs, the park will likely include picnic tables and a native plant habitat area, Campbell said.
One item that won't be included are public restrooms. The future park is considered a "neighborhood park" with the majority of its users coming from a half-mile or less away, and "generally, we do not have bathrooms in neighborhood parks," she said.
The site's elevation poses some interesting design challenges -- there's a 65 percent grade change between the upper and lower areas.
"It's almost like having two parks in one," Campbell said.
The city already has the estimated $2.72 million construction cost set aside and, if all goes as planned, the new park could open for public use in April 2019, she said. Plans call for the city's Parks & Recreation Commission and the City Council to voice their views on the park's proposed design early next year.
One thing that remains unsettled is what the park's name will be. The city's "Standard Pacific" label is simply a placeholder, Campbell said. Encinitas has multi-step process that includes City Council approval when it comes to selecting names for its public facilities.
The names can reflect a property's history -- the Standard Pacific site was once an orchard with avocado and citrus trees -- or its geology, geographic features or community identity. Names can even recognize a "significant financial contribution," a city policy documents indicate.
For park project information and construction updates, visit: www.encinitasca.gov/standardpacificparksite.
Barbara Henry is a freelance reporter for the San Diego Union- Tribune.