While the Hollister council approved of a long-range plan for local parks Monday, the primary points of discussion surrounded concepts for the 50-acre Brigantino Park on the west side and how many acres of new parkland should be dedicated per thousand residents.
The current city policy called for 4 acres of new parkland per 1,000 residents, while the actual number of acres per thousand residents is 2.3 with a total of 84 acres in existence, according to documents with the agenda item. The Park Facility Master Plan approved Monday will increase that goal number to 5 acres, although Mayor Ignacio Velazquez wanted it even higher at 7 acres. Velazquez pointed to the discrepancy when voting no on the plan.
The parks plan, last updated in 2002, is a long-range document used to guide development of future parklands in the city, but the challenge for city officials going forward will be figuring out how to fund it. The city in 2017 hired O’Dell Engineering to help devise the blueprint.
The document itself is several hundred pages, but council members largely discussed the new parkland acreage Monday. Velazquez pointed to another city in the region as a comparison on the same subject.
“If Los Banos can ask for 7 acres, I’m pretty sure we can do it,” he said regarding that city’s policy for new parkland per thousand acres.
Other council members disagreed.
“I want realistic goals for the city,” Councilwoman Carol Lenoir said, adding how the city can always increase the number again later. “I would like to see us shoot for something that we can actually fulfill.”
Councilman Marty Richman said the city should consider it a living document and that he doesn’t want to see it turn into another plan that sits on a shelf collecting dust.
“I voted for this plan because I intend to try and get a matching budget,” he said.
Some of the other information on the park plan, or included in the document, includes the following:
Funding mechanisms listed in the plan include development-related financing, development agreements, special financing districts, bonds/tax measures, programming/fees, community partnerships, grants, crowdfunding, public-private partnerships, “Friends of the Parks” programs, parks and recreation foundation, statewide bond acts, transit/road funds, joint marketing/promotion, fundraising efforts, sales/lease of surplus lands, joint-use partnerhips, naming rights, open space easements and donations.
Recommended locations for future park developments in the city or sphere of influence include the Homestead neighborhood in south Hollister, north of Maple Street and east of San Felipe Road, Airline Highway at Union Road, neighborhoods surrounding San Benito High School, west of Hollister and north of Buena Vista Road, east of Hollister and north of Santa Ana Road, southeast Hollister east of Fairview Road, north-central Hollister south of the airport on Flynn Road, and east Hollister west of Fairview Road north of Hillcrest Road.