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Signal Hill community weighs in on city’s parks

Residents chime in about desired amenities during public-input meeting for park master plan

Pictured+are+Tom+Diehl+%28left%29+and+Art+Thatcher+%28right%29%2C+respective+project+manager+and+principal+of+Greenplay%2C+LLC.%2C+a+green-space+consulting+firm%2C+during+a+public-input+meeting+Thursday%2C+Jan.+31%2C+at+the+Signal+Hill+City+Council+Chamber.+
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Signal Hill community weighs in on city’s parks

Pictured are Tom Diehl (left) and Art Thatcher (right), respective project manager and principal of Greenplay, LLC., a green-space consulting firm, during a public-input meeting Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Signal Hill City Council Chamber.

Pictured are Tom Diehl (left) and Art Thatcher (right), respective project manager and principal of Greenplay, LLC., a green-space consulting firm, during a public-input meeting Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Signal Hill City Council Chamber.

Photos by Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune

Pictured are Tom Diehl (left) and Art Thatcher (right), respective project manager and principal of Greenplay, LLC., a green-space consulting firm, during a public-input meeting Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Signal Hill City Council Chamber.

Photos by Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune

Photos by Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune

Pictured are Tom Diehl (left) and Art Thatcher (right), respective project manager and principal of Greenplay, LLC., a green-space consulting firm, during a public-input meeting Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Signal Hill City Council Chamber.

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Signal Hill residents voiced their opinions last week about the city’s parks in preparation for a new master plan that aims to modify and retrofit recreational areas.

During the community meeting Thursday, Jan. 31, inside the Signal Hill City Council Chamber, representatives with Greenplay, LLC.– a consultant firm for parks, recreation, open space and related agencies– garnered input from locals to determine the city’s public-recreation needs.

That evening, Aly Mancini, the City’s community-services director, told attendees that establishing a park master plan allows officials to make informed decisions about public green spaces.

“You know, one thing I love about this community– I’ve worked with the City for 12 years– is that we really don’t do anything unless the community has asked us to do it,” Mancini said. “[…] We look at our master plan and say, ‘What is it that the community has asked us to do?’ And we prioritize based on that input. […] We make sure that we are allocating resources where the community wants them to go.”

Last November, the Signal Hill City Council awarded the contract to Greenplay, LLC., for the creation of the parks-and-recreation master plan for the city by July 2019 at a cost of $74,999, as reported previously by the Signal Tribune.

Mancini said during that council meeting that Signal Hill last established a park master plan three decades ago in 1989.

During a community meeting Jan. 31 at the Signal Hill City Council Chamber that garnered public input for the creation of a new park master plan, residents expressed a desire for more flexible parking, consistent trash pick-up and more recreational activities for locals.

Tom Diehl, project manager with Greenplay, LLC., helmed Thursday night’s meeting, presenting a series of slides that demonstrated prior input from the community regarding Signal Hill’s park ecosystem, including a list of desired amenities and activities.

One Signal Hill resident said he believes the city’s parks appeal to locals because of their subtle nature.

“Our park system is kind of ‘low key,’” he said. “[There’s] a lot of use by people in the area, as opposed to lots of folks coming in from elsewhere, parking and never leaving, which I think might change the nature of our park system.”

Diehl highlighted one suggestion in his slideshow presentation about “park connectivity.”

“What some people would like is that you could go from one park to the next park to the next park,” Diehl said. “So, connectivity is one of the biggest things that’s happening in communities. People like to walk, ride bikes, whatever. So, ideally, people would like to go from wherever they are on a trail to a park, then leave that park to go to another one.”

Resident input included a desire for:

• Exercise equipment
• Cleanliness
• Enhanced enforcement of park rules
• Recreational activities, such as softball, game tables, skate parks, etc.
• ADA accessibility
• More gazebos
• An intergenerational facility
• Rental spaces for activities
• Community gardens
• Running tracks
• Shaded areas
• More parking
• The redesigning of Hillbrook Park, located at 1865 Temple Ave.
• Signs that demonstrate and detail the history of the city
• Refurbishing of existing amenities
• More trashcans at Hilltop Park, located at 2351 Dawson Ave.

Pictured is a slide that Tom Diehl, project manager with Greenplay, LLC., shared with Signal Hill residents Jan. 31, when the public was invited to provide their input about the city’s parks. The list of desired activities from residents include implementing senior programming, yoga and skate parks.

Diehl said a full list of the public’s input will be posted on the cityofsignalhill.org website on an undisclosed date.

He added that in about four to six weeks, a public survey will be mailed to residents, who will be selected randomly within the city. Later, a survey will be accessible online.

“If you don’t have access to online or [a] computer, the City will print them out, and you can have one,” Diehl said. “[…] And they’ll [also] mail you one. So, everyone should have an opportunity to participate.”

The Greenplay, LLC. team will return mid-June to discuss its preliminary recommendations with the community, Diehl said.

“Then, just like tonight, there’ll be a public meeting, and we’ll take feedback,” he said. “Then we’ll go away and draft our plan, and we’ll come back and present it at a meeting like this again, take more feedback, and then we’ll draft the final plan– which will all be shared with the City.”

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Signal Hill community weighs in on city’s parks