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Bike courses included with Carlsbad's Veterans Memorial Park plan
San Diego Union-Tribune - 2/28/2021
A family-oriented bicycle park will be the focal point of Carlsbad's new Veterans Memorial Park on 91.5 acres of rolling hills just north of Faraday Avenue at the city's geographic center.
The four-acre park within the park will have courses for beginners to experts, with jumps, loops, slaloms and a "pump track" on uneven terrain and banked turns to test the skills of serious cyclists, city staffers said in a report presented last week to the Carlsbad City Council.
"We are very pleased and feel like we hit a lot of the marks the public was requesting," Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Lancaster told the City Council last week.
Carlsbad has owned the property since the 1980s, when it was virtually inaccessible before Faraday Avenue and the extension Cannon Road were built. Much of the land is southwest-facing slopes with views of the ocean, Agua Hedionda Lagoon and The Crossings at Carlsbad, the city's golf course.
Almost half of the park property, 43.5 acres, will remain undeveloped as protected native habitat. The hilly terrain and environmental restrictions prohibit the construction of facilities such as sports fields, swimming pools and large structures such as a community center.
The bike park will be at the southern end of the property along Faraday Avenue, with parking, a children's playground, a shaded plaza and restrooms.
The north side of the park also will have parking, along with a memorial plaza with shaded pavilions and public art, a community gathering area, restrooms, picnic areas, a playground and an open lawn. The upper plateau and vista terraces will have a winding pathway with seating, exercise and picnic areas, a playground, native and interpretive gardens and a prominent veterans memorial art element.
All elements of the overall park will be connected by handicapped-accessible walkways with links to surrounding city trails into nearby residential neighborhoods, said Kasia Trojanowska, parks planning manager.
The design incorporates rustic natural materials such as wood, rocks and boulders to create a military theme in keeping with the veterans memorial, she said.
The City Council's unanimous approval of the master plan concepts cleared the way for staffers to proceed with obtaining the necessary environmental permits and entitlements needed for the park's construction. Another progress report will be delivered to the council in the fall.
Councilwoman Teresa Acosta said she loved the design and appreciated all the work by city employees and residents that went into it.
"We are doing something really great here," Acosta said.
The city appropriated $1.8 million for the planning, design, construction documents and public bidding phases of the project. A little more than $22 million is budgeted for the park's construction in fiscal year 2025-26.
The city has been collecting developer fees since the 1990s to pay for the construction.
The land for Veterans Memorial Park is what's left of about 400 acres owned by the city and once known as Macario Canyon. Some of the property was used to build Faraday Avenue, and a big piece became part of the golf course, completed in 2007.
Some Carlsbad residents have opposed the development of Veterans Park, saying that instead the city should build a smaller neighborhood park to serve people in the city's southwest quadrant that includes the beachfront Ponto neighborhood.
In January, the City Council agreed to investigate ways to acquire property for a park in the southwest quadrant, a move that pleased the Ponto residents.
This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.
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