More improvements coming for six Carmel Valley parks


The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board approved an additional $6 million worth of park improvements at six Carmel Valley parks at its July 23 board meeting, including comfort stations, picnic tables and shade structures.

The additional park improvements come after the board approved $12 million in improvements in June, for a total of $18.1 million out of the Facilities Benefit Assessment (FBA) fund, paid by developers to assure that new development pays for proportional community facilities.

Ken Farinsky, who serves on both the planning board and Carmel Valley Recreation Council, said the council has been looking at an unfunded-needs list for several years. They were able to narrow it to their initial five projects last month and worked to build consensus on how to “spread the wealth” of FBA funding to benefit as many areas in the community as possible.

The latest approved park improvements are a new concession building at Sage Canyon Neighborhood Park, a request made by the Little League teams; and a comfort station (restroom)/concession/storage building at Ocean Air Community Park, along with six new picnic tables and two new shade structures.

Some parking relief will come to Torrey Highlands Neighborhood Park above Torrey Pines High School with an added half-acre of parking. Torrey Highlands will also get two new picnic tables, two new shade structures and a new drinking fountain at Torrey Highlands Neighborhood Park.

Carmel Creek Neighborhood Park will see ADA improvements to the children’s play area in addition to four new picnic tables and one new shade structure. Carmel Creek is one of the oldest parks in Carmel Valley and hasn’t been updated in a long time, Farinsky said.

Carmel Grove off Carmel Creek Road will get a comfort station, new picnic table and shade structure, and Carmel Mission Neighborhood Park, across from Bay Club Carmel Valley, will get a comfort station, helpful for people who use the park to access the open space trail system.

The 11 projects will now go to the City Council to be approved into the city’s capital improvement program for the 2016 budget and begin the design and construction process.

Board member Allen Kashani said it was great to see all these park improvements moving forward, but noted that they were all for active uses and less for passive uses such as hiking, jogging and biking trails.

“Keep in mind there is a thirst for some passive recreation in our area,” Kashani said. “It’s showing up in our open space in a damaging way.”

While the $18 million is the last in FBA funding for awhile, Chair Frisco White announced an additional $4 million contribution might be coming soon, which could be used for recreational projects.