Thursday, April 7, 2005
The Public, the Parkway, and a Plan
The public’s got a peaceful, easy feeling about their vision for the Carmel River Parkway, a network of existing parklands at the mouth of Carmel Valley.
At three special meetings held April 1 and April 2 at the Carmel Mission Inn, community members provided a very tranquil and undeveloped vision for the project, according to Big Sur Land Trust General Manager Cynthia Holmsky.
The Carmel River Parkway encompasses rocky seashore, beach, river, pine and redwood forest, wetlands and rolling oak woodland hills, all within walking distance of the mouth of the valley.
Led by a design team of faculty and third-year graduate students from the Department of Landscape Architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, community members were given an introduction to the project, then asked to brainstorm ideas.
“I think folks were both grateful and somewhat surprised to have input on the front end of a project like this and not just be coming to hear about a plan that someone had already designed,” Holmsky says.
Once the public’s written input has been consolidated, the results will be given to the design team, which will blend community members’ ideas into their master plan.
“The parklands in this area are very much in natural states and I think we saw that, by and large, people want them to stay that way,” Holmsky says.
According to Holmsky, community members received an introduction to the project before breaking into groups and sharing a vision for the plan including the top three experiences they would want to have on these parklands, their top two wishes for the design, and their top two concerns.
In coming weeks, local school groups will also be invited to participate in the design process in sessions coordinated through their faculty.
The concept of river parkways, which may be unfamiliar locally, is an increasingly popular method of connecting people with the lands and waters of the community they live in. Many successful parkways, which are also referred to as greenways, have been launched nationwide in the past 20 years. In California, successful examples of parkways can be found along the Kern, Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.
Funding for the planning process was provided by the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation and through private donations to The Big Sur Land Trust.