Community members gathered Tuesday evening at the Carlsbad Senior Center to share their thoughts on the future of Carlsbad’s parks and recreation programs.
It was the first of two public meetings, which are part of the city’s planning process designed to create a comprehensive parks and recreation action plan for the future. The city will also conduct online and mailed surveys, interviews and focus groups to update its parks plans to meet changing trends, community values and demographics.
“This is part of our community outreach that is our effort to get out and hear from as many people as possible in the community about what they want from Parks and Recreation in the next five to 10 years,” said Mick Calarco, the city’s special projects manager.
Roughly 50 people attended the meeting, which was led by Neelay Bhatt, vice president of PROS Consulting, an Indianapolis-based management consulting and planning firm hired by the city.
Bhatt asked attendees what they think are the strengths of the city’s parks and recreation programs, and what changes the department should make in the future when the city’s population is projected to grow from 105,000 residents in 2010 to 138,000 residents by 2025.
The public praised the city’s well-maintained parks, diverse and inexpensive recreational programs, and friendly city staff. Some attendees also thanked staff for allowing them to be involved in the planning process.
“You’re very friendly to us and it does look as if you want to listen to us,” said Amy Villalobos, who has lived in Carlsbad since the 1960s. “Thank you for being so inviting.”
Community members had varying requests for the future of Carlsbad’s parks and recreation programs, including an indoor pool, bocce ball playing areas, Ping-Pong tables, large chess and checker game boards, and more family activities. But when Bhatt asked each attendee to choose one outcome they wanted to see from the comprehensive action plan, many residents expressed the desire for more community garden space, sustainable facilities, a bike park and courts for pickleball, a racquet sport.
Calarco thanked attendees for sharing their input and noted city staff heard all of their wishes.
“At the end of this, we want to come out with some strong recommendations that we can prioritize and then get right down to work," Calarco said. "This is not a document that we hope will sit on a shelf, but rather something that we can actually get right out there and do.”
The second public meeting will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. at the city’s Faraday Center, located at 1635 Faraday Ave.
Community members can also provide input via an online survey, which should be available on the city’s website Thursday evening, Calarco said. Following the online survey, a mailed survey will be sent to a random sampling of residents.
The assessment and action plan are expected to be complete this fall.