The passive park with a great view of Back Bay on the corner of Jamboree Road and Pacific Coast Highway may soon get a few new features to encourage more users to visit.
The Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission provided feedback and unanimously approved to move forward with enhancements for Back Bay View Park on Tuesday. The goal is to increase value and usability for the community, according to staff.
It’s a well kept secret, said PBR Commissioner Roy Englebrecht, who recently spent time in the park on three different days.
“It doesn’t get a lot of attention,” he said, “but it has a spectacular view… It’s about as great a view of the dunes and Orange County and the mountains as you can get in this town.”
The proposed improvements to Back Bay View Park are meant to increase community use by providing a trellis shade structure, bike fix-it station, improved water fountain, fitness station and improved interpretative signage. If it fits in the budget, staff also recommended a stone monument sign.
Any significant changes require an amendment to the California Coastal Commission permit the city obtained when the park was built in 2004, explained Assistant City Engineer Mike Sinacori. But before they head back to the CCC, staff wanted to check with PBR (and the City Council next) to collect comments and direction regarding the possible changes.
Currently, the park has a few picnic tables, stone bench, bike rack and a few metal benches. The goal is to add a few more amenities, said Monica Simpson of Asakura Robinson, the landscape architecture firm heading up the project.
“(Nothing) too active, still passive, but some things that may attract more users to the park,” she explained.
The feature most discussed on Tuesday was the trellis shade structure. Currently, there are no trees or other opportunities for shade in the park. Several commissioners commented that they would like to somehow see more shade in the park, whether over the concrete bench or elsewhere.
The existing concrete bench is too low for most people to sit on comfortably, Simpson said, so they were also considering concrete benches under the trellis or some kind of seating integrated with the trellis, she noted.
Although, because of the limited budget, they’ll likely hold off on changing the seating and see if they can just add the trellis on top of the current bench, Sinacori added.
The idea of putting a trellis over an uncomfortable bench where nobody sits doesn’t make sense, Englebrecht said.
“I would rather spend the money and put in a shade structure over each of those (picnic) tables,” he said.
Shade over the picnic tables is a complete non-start, Sinacori commented. It could potentially block the view and neither the CCC or local residents would be on board with that idea, he explained.
“The shade structure itself is, in my mind, still on the chopping block,” Sinacori said. “If we can’t afford it that’s going to be the first thing to go.”
Based on the input from the community, they found that a bike “fix-it” station would be helpful to include. The facility would allow cyclists to mend tires and make adjustments on their bike.
“There are a lot of bikers that ride by on Pacific Coast Highway,” Simpson said.
Another proposed improvement to the park is to replace the old, simple drinking fountain with something that has a bottle filling feature and a water bowl for dogs.
Staff also hopes to add a small fitness station that will allow users to do pull-ups, leg crunches and stomach crunches.
Also, if the budget allows, they would like to update the faded interpretive signs.
Everything in the currently plan can probably be worked into the “very limited” budget, Sinacori said.