Panel offers ideas for Fairview Park


Proposals for Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park varied widely Wednesday evening, from adding sports fields and bike trails to reconstructing a Native American village and reconfiguring the park’s train tracks.

The Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee’s meeting at City Hall saw its nine members take turns explaining what they would like to see at the 208-acre park. Officials said the ideas were just that — ideas — and wouldn’t be voted upon or added to the park’s master plan at this time.

“We want to hear every comment and every idea that the entire committee has for the park,” said Bart Mejia, the city’s parks project manager.

“Let’s just go ahead and throw a lot of mud against the wall and see what shakes out,” added committee Chairman Richard Mehren, before the ideas were heard.

Mehren’s suggestions included adding an additional picnic area and improving a grassy area that now has an inadequate sprinkler system. The system leaves dead spots because it doesn’t provide full water coverage, he said.

Ron Amburgey proposed a variety of sports-related ideas, among them adding fields for soccer, baseball, football and roller hockey. Brett Eckles also suggested “multi-use” fields, as well as marked running paths, bike trails and a nature center, possibly with bird-watching platforms.

The park is primarily passive open space and doesn’t host many active uses, such as organized sports. While some residents have said there is a shortage of youth athletic fields in the city and adding some within Fairview Park could help that problem, others — including several speakers during the meeting — say the park should remain largely as is and without new development.

Terry Cummings suggested a “heritage village,” which he later clarified could be a re-created Native American village somewhere within the park’s southeast quadrant.

Lee Ramos called for reconfiguring the train tracks used by the Orange County Model Engineers. The tracks, he said, could go more toward the edges of the park, thus leaving a circular center area “open for discussion” for new uses.

Ramos also asked about adding a lawn bowling space for seniors, to which Eckles quickly replied that not only seniors would be apt to partake in lawn bowling.

Anna Vrska and Ramos both asked for improved or new information kiosks that would contain information about the area’s animals and plants. Vrska also called for improvements to the eroding bluffs in the southwest quadrant.

David Stiller said there should be signs marking the park’s vernal pools so the public doesn’t damage them.

“Right now, I don’t think that’s very well defined,” he said. “I could walk right into a spot right where there is a vernal pool and I wouldn’t know it.”

Steve Smith gave only one recommendation: improved handicap access in the park’s northwest quadrant.

Dennis Popp suggested exercise stations along the trails, as well as a community garden in the northwest quadrant.

The committee, which will eventually recommend various updates to the park’s master plan, also approved a comprehensive work plan through April 2015. The committee’s recommendations will eventually go to the Parks and Recreation Commission and the City Council.