Community shares ideas for Statewide Park Grant application

From Memorial Park grandstand upgrades, to river front parks and even Main Street access to local attractions, Lassen County residents voiced their opinions on where they’d like to see potential grant money spent.

The city of Susanville will be attempting to pursue the grant through the California Department of Parks and Recreation, where about $400 million dollars are available statewide and a jurisdiction may apply for up to $8 million per application. Prior to submission, the city is making efforts to ask residents where they would like to see local park improvements or additions.

During the Wednesday, Oct. 7, Susanville City Council meeting, the board held an information meeting aimed at seeking the public’s input regarding uses for the Statewide Parks Grant

“This is going to be the first of several public meetings to try and get input to see what the community wants,” City Administrator Kevin Jones said during the meeting. “Ultimately the council will decide what our focus is and what projects they are.”

During the meeting, residents were able to share where they would like to see the potential funds spent, but Jones also detailed some ideas city staff discussed.

The bigger items that have been coming up are the tennis courts, the grandstands at Memorial Park, the skate park, and other potential ideas like a splash pad, Jones discussed.

Other staff discussion ideas included park lighting, fencing, landscaping, play ground features and river trails.

Overall, though, Jones said the chosen plans for the grant application should remain within reason.

“The biggest concern when we were speaking was the ability to sustain. When we eventually apply to this grant, we want to keep it within reason. We only have two people who take care of our parks and depending on what the council wants to go forward with, we’re going to have a lot of work to do. So we want to stay realistic on some of the things we’re going to be looking at and requesting,” Jones said Wednesday.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, community members made suggestions for grant applications.

Lassen Community College Athletic Director Glen Yonan and LCC baseball coach Frank Avilla made a case for improvements to Memorial Ball Park, including the grandstands.

“It does the community a lot of good and the grandstands are in need of a remodel of some type,” Yonan said.

Avilla and the Lassen High School baseball coach, Scott Foreman, both said the uniqueness of the covered grandstands draws others teams.

“Every year I have to turn away out of town teams, cause our schedules fill up. And the main reason they mention they want to be here is because they want to play on Memorial Field,” said Foreman.

Lance Lively, the Little League President, made the case for funds to help the four fields at Pat Muprhy Little League Field, which was broken into again in July, he said.

Lively shared there is currently only one operating bathroom, and suggested better fencing, all-purpose turf, or even a change of location for the field.

Pat Holley and Jim Reichle both mentioned the appeal of a river front attraction.

Holley noted how many towns he has driven through that have well-developed river parks and suggested making the Susan River Park an official park.

Reichle, who has sought improvements to the swim rocks on the Susan River near the Richmond Road Bridge before, said the location doesn’t have to be a liability, and could be the “centerpiece of our town if it were designed correctly.”

Another speaker, Christina Andersen, shared she’s been working on ideas to bring tourism to Susanville, and suggested a park entrance — with parking and a kiosk with area information — be incorporated off of Main Street to encourage travelers to stop in town, see what the area has to offer and spend money locally.

Other speakers during the meeting discussed potential funds be requested for upgrades to the skate park, separate playgrounds for different age groups of children, upgraded floor padding at the playground. There was also an idea to make the community pool indoors, so families can access the facility year-round.

Members on the Susanville City Council expressed appreciation for the ideas shared.

The matter will be back before the board for further discussion.