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City leaders seek input from county supervisor on Talbert Park

City leaders seek input from county supervisor on Talbert Park
Michelle Steel, of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, speaks with Costa Mesa Mayor Steve Mensinger as they look on from Victoria Pond during a guided tour of Talbert Regional Park on Friday. (Kevin Chang, Daily Pilot)

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel got a look at some of Talbert Park's greatest needs during a tour Friday led by Costa Mesa Mayor Steve Mensinger and OC Parks Director Stacy Blackwood.

Mensinger and Blackwood hope to gain Steel's support to fund the improvements deemed most necessary for the 180-acre regional park.

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"Today, I'm seeing where we can put more money toward and what needs attention," Steel said. "Our next step is to sit down and prioritize what the most important projects are."

The group, which included city CEO Tom Hatch, traveled by van to visit Victoria Pond and the Sheep Hill BMX biking trail on Talbert's south side. They saw examples of erosion of slopes, rusted bridges and peeling informational signs throughout the park.

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In addition to repairs, the group discussed hillside steps and adding parking.

"Besides funding the maintenance and upkeep of the park, we also want to make it easier for people to access it," Mensinger said.

While traveling in a county van, Mensinger showed Steel one of the spots where homeless encampments sometimes pop up and told her about the four to six brush fires that occur in the park each year.

Steel said she plans to lend her support in identifying possible solutions to improve Talbert while staying within the budget.

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On top of finding the money for improvements, officials must also determine which projects are even feasible.

"There are capital improvements like expanding the trail system or even parking," Blackwood said. "These could be made, but it's also contingent on whether or not we're able to physically do them and do them with the environmental regulations we have to follow."

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