The Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee on Wednesday approved three suggestions for additions to the park, based on ideas the group generated earlier this year.
A majority of the nine-member committee favored adding a community garden, information kiosks with pamphlets, and a nature center with bird-watching platforms within the 208-acre park's northwest quadrant.
The three suggestions will be brought to city staff, who will research the feasibility of each before the committee's next meeting, scheduled for February.
Public Services Director Ernesto Munoz said the initial investigation of each idea will be conceptual. In February, the panel will reexamine the three suggestions based on the city staff's input.
The initial investigation will not fully explore all possible biological, archaeological and environmental effects, Munoz noted.
Committee member Dennis Popp said he felt the community garden, possibly near the Santa Ana River, should be studied.
He added that one clear disadvantage is that the area's homeless would "probably raid the gardens."
"It's like any community gardens," Popp said. "There's going to be some squabbles ... some people are going to lose some tomatoes when they get ripe."
That portion of the park is not near any developments and is a buffer easement between the adjacent Lower Birds neighborhood and the Fairview Channel, which runs through the park. Pipes used by Mesa Water District and the Orange County Water District run under the area.
Ideas that either weren't voted on or didn't garner a majority vote included soccer and football fields, additional picnic structures, a dog park, an expanded concert area, a skate park, basketball and handball courts, and expansion of the Orange County Model Engineers' train route.
Concerning another idea that didn't get far — an archery range — committee member Terry Cummings said, "Somewhere along those bluffs would seem like a natural place for targets." He pointed to Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley, which has archery.
Committee member David Stiller opposed the idea. He cited safety concerns and liability for the city.
"In the absence of supervision, more or less on a 24-hour basis, we're asking for trouble," Stiller said.
The city also has trouble enforcing the Volcom Skate Park rules, including the wearing of safety gear like kneepads, he said.
"I don't want someone out there with a bow and arrow playing Wild West without supervision," Stiller said.
Committee member Ron Amburgey, who supported the archery field, added: "Where are the Indians when we need them? That would be a slam dunk if they were here."
But before the voting could take place, committee members were split between those who want to keep the park as is and those who want to change it — an ongoing debate since the group's formation.
At Popp's request, the committee approved discussing what the park's master plan has in store for the northwest quadrant. Popp later clarified that he wanted his motion to signify keeping the master plan intact, but that he didn't mind some additions.
Committee member Brett Eckles offered a substitute motion to that effect, though there was some confusion about whether he and fellow members could vote on the remaining suggestions if they decide to add nothing to the master plan.
"Wouldn't we be heading this thing off if we say no change to the master plan?" Amburgey said
At one point during the roughly 30-minute debate over parliamentary procedures, Chairman Richard Mehren said, "Where to go from here, I do not know."
Committee member Anna Vrksa said: "I'm confused about what in the last 20 minutes is going on." She did not favor any changes to the park.