Parks in the works for Newport Beach

From pocket parks to 13.5-acre recreation spaces, new outdoor areas are being planned in Newport Beach.

City administrators praised existing facilities and outlined plans for further construction at a public Speak Up Newport event Wednesday night in the Civic Center community room.

Groundbreaking for bigger projects like Sunset Ridge Park on West Coast Highway at Superior Avenue and Marina Park between 15th and 18th streets on Balboa Boulevard mark the start to two major parks that have been years in the making, said Public Works Director Dave Webb.

Sunset Ridge Park will include a Pony baseball field, soccer fields and a play area, while Marina Park will feature a community center, visitor marina and Girl Scout house.

Also in the works are an expansion of Sunset View Park (near Sunset Ridge Park on Superior Avenue), an enhancement of Back Bay View Park (1900 Back Bay Drive) and development of a Corona del Mar pocket park (at Jasmine Avenue and West Coast Highway).

Further down the line may be park in the Lower Castaways and a community center in west Newport Beach, Webb said.

These build on a strong foundation for recreation in the city, including 10 community centers, 32 tot lots, 20 tennis courts and 24 basketball courts, said Laura Detweiler, director of recreation and senior services.

"Most of you would be surprised," she said to the crowd of about 40. "We're at 64 parks and counting."

Detweiler praised an active community and a committed city council for their support of ongoing outdoor development.

More than 340 acres in the city are developed parkland, she said.

That number will soon increase, as the city aims to have 5 acres of land for every 1,000 persons.

As Detweiler put it, "We hold ourselves to a much higher standard here in Newport Beach."

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