Laguna Niguel council discusses park plans

A pedestrian bridge, state-of-the-art buildings and improved walkways could all be on the horizon for Laguna Niguel's Crown Valley Community Park.

The City Council discussed at its Tuesday meeting those features and more with consultants for the park's master plan. The project is led by Deputy City Manager Pam Lawrence.

No aspects of the plan are set in stone, City Manager Tim Casey said.

The master plan process is just beginning, and the city hopes to engage the community for input on renovations for the 30-year-old, 36-acre park, he said.

Council members Linda Lindholm and Gary Capata are proponents of the project, and it was Lindholm who asked the council a couple years ago to hire consultants to create a new vision for the park.

"I have to say this (is a) project I'm very excited about," Lindholm said. "What we're looking at is a really long-range vision."

Lindholm gave her suggestions for the site, such as larger, state-of-the-art classrooms, a circular drive, a pedestrian bridge and a bike trail.

"We had a dream for the City Hall, and we set aside the money and it happened," she said.

Casey agreed that City Council meetings did shape the direction of City Hall project, citing the architecture, water elements and indoor exhibits as ideas the council proposed.

Crown Valley Community Park currently houses two swimming pools, one nearly Olympic-sized, along with a multipurpose room and classroom. The YMCA rents a building in the park as well.

"There are a lot of great uses that are going to stay there," Capata said.

The question is, he asked, "How are we going to make it better and increase the use?"

Councilman Robert Ming urged residents to take the process seriously, citing the Laguna Gateway Specific Plan update and the public outcry.

"We had people come in saying, 'We never knew you were doing anything,'" he said. "Good golly, we spent years in that process."

He encouraged residents to make a difference in their community. The project will be done, but it might take a few years, he said.

The city, the consultants and the Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a public input meeting Monday. Anyone interested in the project is urged to come. Guests will be put into small groups and will be given the opportunity to their present ideas.

Twitter: @joannaclay

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