By Amy O’Hair, SNA Secretary and past member of the Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Committee
Last month, the Balboa Reservoir Project development team presented revised plans for the central park at an open house at Unity Plaza. The presentation demonstrates that concerns and preferences of Sunnyside residents have been addressed by some of the revisions–items which were previously identified in a survey conducted by Sunnyside Neighborhood Association (SNA) as well as issues raised at the Nov 2020 meeting of the Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Committee (BRCAC).
When initial plans were presented at the November 2020 meeting of the BRCAC, objections were made from several attendees and committee members to the compartmentalized nature of the park space as presented. The community garden had high fences that visually cut up the open space; an orchard was included, which would also need high fencing to prevent theft. It was suggested that the proposed pavilion could accommodate events or small-scale performance programs.
Following that, in Nov-Dec 2020, SNA conducted a survey of local residents about the uses they made of existing parks, as well as things they would like to see included in the Balboa Reservoir Project central park. Half of respondents lived in families with children. Basic activities like walking, sitting, and doing things with children were most important for respondents. Features that respondents said they valued in parks included playgrounds, benches, and picnic tables. Top landscaping desires included trees and open grassy lawns, with native plants, flowers, and shady areas coming next. The full results of that survey can be found here (PDF).
The revised plans presented in October show changes that address some of the issues raised over the last year by Sunnyside residents. The open grassy lawn area has been enlarged by 28%; the community garden fences shown in the presentation are more transparent to the eye, being an open mesh topped with wood. There are numerous places where benches, picnic tables, and other public park ‘furniture’ have been included, providing spaces for families or friends to gather or share meals. The plans show many trees for the open spaces, creating shaded areas. The Pavilion now includes some space around it that could be used to accommodate events.
The Balboa Reservoir Project has been controversial for some local residents; no one can deny that looming traffic and transit issues remain unresolved to date. Nonetheless, the developer team at AvalonBay/BRIDGE working on the open space portion of the project is to be congratulated for their responsiveness to the stated needs of the current local residents who plan to use the planned Reservoir Park. If all goes well, Sunnysiders can look forward to enjoying a unique and lovely new park nearby.
Below are the ten slides for the presentation boards from the Balboa Reservoir Open House on Oct 16, 2021. Give your feedback regarding these park plans by email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Get updates from the developer by signing up here.Continue reading “Balboa Reservoir update: Revised park plans”