Yesterday, I wrote about the hideous stairs at Hillcrest Park and alluded to the City Council being asked to spend another $5.7 million on Hillcrest Park improvements. This is Park Dwelling Fund money — an important distinction I will get to in a minute. You can read the full Agenda Letter here.
A portion of that $5.7 million is slated for the construction of what would become Fullerton’s most useless bridge, if funding is approved next Tuesday night. No, it won’t be painted orange, and I don’t know the exact type of bridge.
This is just a crude rendering of where the bridge would sit, scaled as best as possible using the City’s drawings.
Here’s the official drawing from the City. The bridge across the creek is clearly visible below:
I keep scratching my head as to who would ever use this bridge. It doesn’t align with any current or proposed trail, nor does it connect the park to crowds of people just dying to enter the “Great Lawn” as they want to call it. The nearest City parking is FOUR spaces at Harbor and Valley View, 425 feet away.
Why would someone opt to walk another 425 feet, over the bridge, to access the “Great Lawn” when it’s right in front of their parking space?
When these parking spaces fill up, the few people desiring to use the bridge will probably just leave their cars at Ralph’s or Chase Bank — or just not bother using the bridge at all. The next closest City parking lot at Hillcrest Park is 900 feet away on Valley View. Either way, taking the bridge is the least convenient route to the lawn.
Second closest is the combined Hillcrest/Lions Field parking lot along Brea Blvd. That measures out to 950 feet away on Google Earth, if, and that’s a big if, you can find parking there at all. On the weekends, that lot is jammed full of cars with youth sports in session at Lions Field. During the week, Parks and Recreation has the bright idea to lease parking spaces to St. Jude Hospital for employee use. They also want to lease Lions Field to Hope International University, presumably during the week as well. While your chances of finding parking there are questionable at this point, let’s just say you succeed. From that parking lot, there is direct access to the “Great Lawn” without needing to use a bridge, cross the creek, or walk alongside Harbor Blvd. A park road already exists.
As an aside, do you think it’s fair for park users to siphon parking spaces away from Ralph’s or Chase Bank and the other businesses there? I sure don’t.
Park Dwelling Money
All of the proposed Hillcrest Park improvements are scheduled to use cash from the Park Dwelling Fund. This is the fee charged to developers for every dwelling unit they build.
But wait a minute? Can’t the Park Dwelling money be used for other, more reasonable purposes, besides a useless bridge?
Chapter 21.12 of the Fullerton Municipal Code covers this.
All money collected as fees imposed by this chapter shall be deposited in the park dwelling fund and shall be used solely for the acquisition, development, improvement, and maintenance of public parks and recreational facilities in the City, as proposed by the City’s Five Year Capital Improvement Program.
Translation: The $5.7 million could be used on things people actually want, such as acquiring land within Coyote Hills.
Really, people. If you think this is a stupid use of funds, this is the LAST chance to do something about it. The project itself has already been approved, but not the funding. That’s what they’re seeking approval for Tuesday night.
Send the City Council an email: [email protected] or attend the meeting on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 6:30pm and plan to speak during public comments.