Nearly 20 Patterson residents met June 27 to discuss the master plan — a blueprint for the future of parks and recreation in the city.
Leading the workshop was Linda Gates of Gates and Associates, the San Ramon-based landscape architectural firm selected by the city to create a master plan for parks and recreation facilities.
She said building parks for the future of the city was a matter of setting priorities, and that so far her firm identified Patterson as active, athletic and culturally rich.
The group will present its work to the City Council in a special meeting July 24.
Last week’s discussion included questions about how many parks the city should plan in the short term, as well as for horizons of 10 years and nearly 40 years.
“Parks are how a community sees itself,” Gates said in her presentation. “They are a major part of the community’s identity.”
Patterson’s General Plan, approved by the City Council in 2010, called for a parks and master plan and also made a call to set aside five acres for parkland for every 1,000 people residing within the city limits.
With more than 20,000 residents, that equates to nearly 105 acres.
Gates said Patterson has 86 acres defined as actual parkland, so the city is already working at a deficit.
At the General Plan’s projected build-out in 2050, the city is expected to have a population of 66,000, with more than 330 acres of parkland.
Gates said Patterson needs more sports facilities, such as soccer pitches and baseball diamonds. In the short term, the city should have at least two more baseball-softball diamonds and three more dual-purpose fields that can accommodate youth soccer or football, she said.
As the city grows, the city could have four community parks that are at least 20 acres, and it should have several parks that are at least three acres in size within a half-mile of each new neighborhood, Gates said.
Former congressional candidate Troy McComak of Patterson, who attended last week’s meeting, expressed mixed feelings after hearing the presentation. He did not have problems with Patterson’s parks plans, but he did take issue with its projected growth goals.
“I didn’t know we were going to get that big,” he said. “It was kind of a shock to me.”
He publicly discussed his goal to create a paintball field at the southwest portion of the T.W. Patterson Sports Complex in southern Patterson, and said he would still like to see that plan come to fruition.
McComak said he has invested nearly $10,000 for improvements to make the paintball field a reality, but he said the city requires a $30,000 fire access road that he could not afford, placing the plan on hold.
Patterson Fire Chief Steve Hall, who doubles as the city fire marshal, said this week that state fire codes call for access points for the park. He said the second way out needed to be built according to those codes. The city has tried to work with McComak, he said, but has not agreed on how to build the second access road.
Former Patterson High School Football Coach Rob Cozart also addressed Gates and commissioners, asking why the city needed so many parks with open basins for storm water drainage.
Open basins, which will be built in addition to the newly required park acreage, double in some cases as additional park space. Gates said such drainage basins tend to flood annually and so would have fewer amenities than those that only flood about every 10 years or so, which could contain some baseball or youth athletic fields.
Cozart noted that Patterson’s future Walmart at the corner of Sperry and Ward Avenues was building its storm-water storage basin under its parking lot, and he asked why the same concept could not be used in parks.
Patterson Community Recreation Director Adrienne Cheney said it would be too costly to build parks over the basins and that Walmart needed the extra parking space rather than an open basin.
Gates also recommended that the city seek more natural parks and trail corridors, and possibly an outdoor amphitheater.
• News Reporter Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187, ext. 31 or email@example.com.