City Council OKs Central Park design buildout

A city worker works on ball field at Central Park as a part of improvements made to several city parks. Cory Rubin/The Signal
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Known as the city’s “crown jewel,” the 130-acre Central Park property is one step closer to expanding and offering additional amenities to the scores of daily visitors following a unanimous vote by the Santa Clarita City Council on Tuesday.  

With direction to consider sports that could be affected by the park’s buildout project, council members approved a design contract to Santa Clarita-based Psomas for $543,142 to expand the undeveloped southwestern portion of the land. 

Central Park, located on Bouquet Canyon Road, offers several amenities for visitors ranging from playgrounds and multi-purpose fields to a dog park, disc golf course and the city’s first community garden. 

But due to the high demand for field use, tournaments and special events, the city has only accommodated 55% of requests received with the available space, according to city staff. 

“The addition of fields at Central Park will help accommodate these demands,” read a staff report. 

The design, which was authorized in the city’s 2019-20 budget as one of its capital improvement projects, includes the addition of four full-sized multipurpose fields, the installation of sports field lighting, landscaping and irrigation, site furnishings, a restroom/ concession building, additional parking and upgrades to an adjacent dog park, including a lighted accessible walkway. 

Before taking a vote, Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth said he would request staff take a closer look at the design and the impact it could have on the park’s 3.1-mile cross country course located within the park “as I know all of our high schools and youth organizations obviously use that.” The trail has also been used for casual day hiking, dog walking and bike riding. 

Resident Steve Petzold said he was concerned that buildout of the park would displace the disc golf area, an 18-hole course that has been used by many players from in and around the Santa Clarita Valley. Central Park started with a nine-hole course, but it has grown over recent years due to “an increase from community requests to add another nine holes,” said Lance O’Keefe, recreation and community services manager. 

He added that Central Park is home to not only traditional sports such as baseball, basketball and soccer, but also less traditional ones that have increased in popularity, such as pickleball and ultimate Frisbee. 

City Manager Ken Striplin said the disc golf area would be relocated, but not eliminated.

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