SANTA ANA : Jack Fisher Park Improvements OKd

After more than a year of debate that threatened at one point to divide a neighborhood near Jack Fisher Park, the City Council this week quietly approved a compromise plan to improve the small, wedge-shaped park without limiting its use.

The $280,000 renovation plan approved without debate Monday includes upgrading playground equipment and improving restrooms, a picnic area and a log cabin often used for neighborhood meetings. The plan also calls for protecting soil erosion along Santiago Creek.

Of the cost, $50,000 has been budgeted. The city is seeking sources of more funds next fiscal year, and a spokesman for the residents said they hope to help out.

"We feel there will be an opportunity for members of the community to make donations," said Dennis Wootan, a spokesman for the Jack Fisher Park Neighborhood Assn.

The council vote was postponed earlier this year because the neighborhood association, the Parks and Recreation Board and the Planning Commission failed to agree on a park plan.

At the outset of the debate last year, some residents near the 1 3/4-acre park advocated turning it into a "passive" park by removing the log cabin, restrooms and fire pit.

Parks board member Barbara Considine was among those who objected, saying the initial plans were an attempt to discourage outsiders from using the park. She said this week that she dropped her objections after receiving assurances that the new plans would allow continued public use of the park.

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