Over 20 people participated in San Juan Bautista’s virtual Luck Park Master Plan town hall on March 9. Representatives from RRM Design Group presented two preliminary design options that included a stage area, library expansion, picnic areas, a walking path and a fire truck display.
Luck Park, located on the corner of Second and Tahualami streets, currently houses the Carl Martin Luck Memorial Library, Jim Jack Cabin and the Luck Museum.
The nearly two-hour town hall consisted of RRM Design Group—hired by San Juan Bautista last April for $30,000 to develop the master plan—surveying participants on what they liked and didn’t like about both designs, and what else they would like to see that was not included.
Melanie Mills, principal landscape architect with RRM Design Group, said the only directions the city gave for developing the master plan was to expand the library by 3,000 square feet, modernize the museum and provide space for civic uses.
Mills also shared the results of an online survey in which 169 residents answered multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Of this group, 122 stated they lived or worked within walking distance of the park, and among the most desired features were shaded seating, picnic tables and a walking loop.
Survey respondents also stated they wanted a music area, dog park, activities for youth, a water play area and a basketball court.
The challenge with a basketball court is the size it requires, Mills said. However, several residents said they supported a one-hoop basketball court.
Concerns raised by residents included noise from potential events in the performance area affecting the library and neighborhood, and landscaping creating a “lover’s lane.”
“People would park all times of the day and night and the results were bottles, cans, condoms,” a resident named Frank said (he did not give his last name). “When they got rid of the bushes on that side of Tahualami it ended all that. It made more places to hide and the lovers would find it.”
Another resident complimented the city for maintaining the park. “In the past year, maybe two years, the park has never looked prettier, so whoever is taking care of it is doing a really good job.”
Wanda Guibert, president of the San Juan Bautista Historical Society, said the organization did not support relocating the Jim Jack cabin to the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park, which was an option presented in Alternative B.
“The state park, looking specifically at the Zanetta House and the Plaza Hotel, they are in serious disrepair and the historical society is really not eager to move a building within the state park purview because I’m afraid they are just not handling what they have very well right now. So we would prefer to keep the Jim Jack [cabin] in the Luck Park,” Guibert said.
Mills said she expects the draft master plan to be presented sometime in spring and the final master plan in the summer.
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