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Completed Projects - Parks and Community Facilities

The following list contains all the Parks and Community Facilities Projects that have been completed by the Agency. You may scroll through the projects, or if you are looking for a certain project, just click on the item on the list below to go directly to it.

Animal Services Facility

Location: Northeast corner of 7th Avenue and Rodriguez Street

Project Manager: Susan Pearlman, County Administrative Office

Background and History: The Animal Services Authority is responsible for animal control and adoption countywide and is currently operating out of an interim leased space in Scotts Valley. In 2004 the County purchased the vacant SPCA facilites on the corner of 7th Avenue and Rodriguez Street in Live Oak with the intent of eventually moving Animal services to this site. The County has been actively working to develop the most cost-effective and viable approach for redevelopment and use of this site with the goal of accommodating Animal Services and resolving noise, parking, and deferred maintenance issues on the property.

Project Status: Following neighborhood design meetings, a Development Permit Application was submitted to the Planning department and approved by the Planning Commission. The old facility was demolished in late summer of 2007. Plans for the new facility were completed and put out to bid in summer 2007. A general construction contract for the new facility were signed with Ralph Larson & Son, Inc., of San Mateo, California. Construction began in winter 2007/2008 and is expected to conclude in the fall of 2008.

Anna Jean Cummings Park

Soccer at A J Cummings Park This 95 acre site now accommodates our newest regional park. With the initial phase of park improvements completed, there remains room for future recreational uses as well as permanent open space.

The lower bench includes two children’s play areas and a large group picnic area with a gazebo and separate restroom. There are paths for a meditative walk and covered seating areas to read a book or just enjoy the surroundings.

On the middle bench of the park are two soccer fields and two multi-purpose fields designed for soccer, softball, and Little League play. Picnic areas surround the fields and are served by a restroom/concession building with an attached maintenance and outdoor equipment storage area.

Large, blue spheres entitled "Skyballs" emerge from the surrounding trees of the middle bench and cascade down the slope towards the entrance of the park. This art component combines the idea of sports activities with the sense of open space.

The undeveloped upper bench area of the park hosts a variety of wildlife - deer, coyotes, raccoons, Stellar jays, Red-tailed Hawks and California quail, with an occasional glimpse of a bobcat or fox. Blue herons and Santa Cruz salamanders love the boggy areas. Protected plants abound - Gardner’s Yampah, Santa Cruz Spineflower and Tarplant, which is listed as Endangered by the State of California.

The park was named for Anna Jean Cummings shortly before her death in 1992. Known in the community for her strong leadership and ability to translate vision to reality, this park is a testament to her spirit.

Completion Date: October, 2001

Bridge Street Pedestrian Bridge

Workshops and mailings that included Soquel residents, businesses and property owners showed that almost all of the participants expressed concerns about the sense of automobile dominance of Soquel Village and the loss of village pedestrian character. They placed a high value on Soquel Creek as a resource, and on improving pedestrian safety and convenience.

The Bridge Street Pedestrian Bridge, spanning Soquel Creek between Paper Mill Road and Main Street, is one of several projects that resulted from that community dialogue. This bridge created an alternative route for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling between residential neighborhoods and the Soquel Village business area as well as Soquel High School, the Main Street Elementary School and Anna Jean Cummings Park.

Completion Date: Summer, 1997

Felt Street Plaza

This property, at 17th Avenue and Felt Street, was first acquired by the Agency to provide a right-of-way for the construction of road improvements on 17th Avenue.

The Agency proposed that this prominent corner site be renovated and transitioned to neighborhood commercial uses. It also proposed to offer one of the remodeled office spaces to the Sheriff’s Office for use as a community service center for the Live Oak area. The Plaza’s location, accessibility, and visibility made it a perfect fit.

The reconstruction of this 5,000 square foot, warehouse-styled structure began with a general upgrade to comply with current code requirements and improved ADA accessibility. An inviting building facade on Felt Street, accessible pedestrian oriented environment, and landscaping were additional elements that added unity, depth and interest to the building exterior. The Felt Street Plaza was transferred to the County of Santa Cruz for long term public use in 2001.

Completion Date: Fall, 1996

Harper Court Pedestrian Bridge

This pedestrian bridge spans an approximately 200 foot riparian corridor between Harper Court and Jose Avenue Park in Live Oak, facilitating direct pedestrian and bicycle connection between neighborhoods east and west of the riparian corridor with services and schools. It also dramatically expanded access to the Agency-sponsored Jose Avenue Park.

A continuous handicap-accessible, pedestrian and bicycle pathway provides access from Harper Court to the pathways on the park site. Located between residential properties, the pathway is bordered by privacy fencing.

The project construction involved drilling three pier foundations for bridge support and installation of two prefabricated steel truss bridge spans placed across the corridor by cranes. Riparian restoration and landscaping included the planting of 14 oak trees and many maple trees, as well as other suitable riparian vegetation.

Completion Date: July, 1999

Hestwood Park

Hestwood Park is located at the corner of Harper Street and Avila Avenue just off El Dorado Avenue, between Capitola Road and Brommer Street.

The property, donated to the County to be developed as a neighborhood park, was designed by the Parks Department and funded by the Redevelopment Agency. The park plan, prepared by Parks working with the neighborhood, includes a tot play area, open lawn area, picnic tables, benches, paved concrete walk and restroom. The plan preserved a number of existing, mature Redwood and Cypress trees and provided for plantings of a selection of Ornamental Pears, Eastern Redbuds, Live Oaks and Hawthorn.

The art component selected for this neighborhood "pocket" park includes various brightly colored animal cutouts playing on the fence behind the tot-lot.

Completion Date: September, 2003

Jose Avenue Park

This park is located in a residential neighborhood at the end of Jose Avenue. The main access is from Jose Avenue off Capitola Road. The southern end of the park is open and accessible to Eddy Lane, which connects to Seventh Avenue. As well, a pedestrian bridge connects the park to Harper Court, making this park very accessible to all of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Residents living in the area of the park site attended three design workshops held in the spring of 1997, working in groups to prepare suggested site plans for the park. Prior to these workshops, the Agency staff had worked with a group of fifth graders at Green Acres Elementary School to find out the recreational wishes of this age group. Through the neighborhood process, a Master Plan was developed, which was supported by the general community.

Surrounded by expanses of lawn are a basketball court, sand volleyball, children’s play area, community garden, horse-shoe area, restroom and picnic areas. While Jose Avenue Park is one of the most popular parks for recreation and family parties, it is most well known throughout the area for its skateboard bowl.

The public art component of the project titled "Great Blue Heron Walkway", consists of two 6 foot tall blue herons, covered with a colorful mosaic, their footprints embedded in the concrete path. The mosaic application occurred on-site with community members encouraged to submit objects to be included, such as pieces of dishes, marbles or other small objects.

Completion Date: March, 2000

Live Oak Community Center

The Community Center was built in conjunction with the Simpkins Family Swim Center.

A community room of approximately 2,700 square feet was designed with a movable partition, providing for one large or two smaller rooms as needed. This room is available to the public for a variety of activities including classes, meetings, recreational and cultural programs, and special events such as parties and receptions. Adjoining the community room is a large, professional kitchen and an outdoor courtyard. For information about renting the community room, please contact the Parks Department.

Completion Date: Fall, 1998

Live Oak Interim Library

Live Oak LibraryLocated on the site of the former Albatross Restaurant, the library was designed to take advantage of its unique coastal location. The adjacent Corcoran Lagoon and related scenic views has made it very popular with area residents.

The County’s Library Plan called for eventual construction of a larger branch library in the Live Oak area. In the interim, the Agency had for several years leased a facility for a children’s library which, due to site and maintenance problems, closed in early 1996. Working closely with Library staff, this new site allowed for the re-opening of the children’s library and the potential for expanded library facilities.

The project required extensive repairs and remodeling, encompassing a general upgrade of the building to comply with current code requirements, drainage improvements, structural upgrading and provision of interior space suitable for library use. Included in the remodel was a comfortable outdoor space.

This library has been so popular that the Agency has completed an expanded library, which includes an enlarged first floor for public use and a second floor mezzanine for staff rooms. For more details, please use this link - Live Oak Library Expansion Project

Completion Date: February, 1998

Live Oak Library Expansion Project

Location: 2380 Portola Drive

The need for a new library for the Live Oak area was identified as part of the Agency's formation in the late-80s.  This unique waterfront property, a former restaurant and nightclub, was purchased in the mid-90s and the building modified to accommodate an interim library.  (See Live Oak Interim Library)  A new library replaced the interim library in 2006.

Live Oak Library This new library is much larger (approximately 13,500 square feet) and is capable of being adapted to the library's changing book mix, media formats, and information technology systems.  New furnishings in reading and study rooms provide comfortable sunny locations for casual readers and large tables for group study.  There are separate areas for periodicals, adult-, teen, and youth-oriented collections.  The upper floor is dedicated to staff work areas.

The building was designed to feel more like a large home than a commercial-style building.  The exterior is modeled into smaller volumes, sized and shaped to a residential scale.  The interior is a collection of smaller comfortable rooms, each with its own unique view onto the surrounding open space.

The library sits on the shore of Corcoran Lagoon, and the design reflects the importance of this location.  The large trees on the eastern edge of the property were preserved to help maintain the character of the neighborhood.  The invasive shrubs along the shoreline were removed and the habitat restored with native species.  The grass bio-swale filters the runoff from the parking areas.  The terraced outdoor seating areas allow patrons to enjoy the view of the lagoon and shore.

Live Oak Library Several "green" building features were designed into this facility: low water use landscaping, durable low-maintenance materials, efficient plumbing, lighting, and heating systems.  This building was included in PG&E's Savings by Design awards program.

The public art component, illuminated silhouettes of shorebirds, asks us to consider whether we live in relationship to, rather than dominion over, the other species in the environment.

Opening day celebrations were on January 14, 2006, with more than 300 people attending. The building is complete, and the community has begun to enjoy the library and unique site.

Completion Date: Winter 2006

Live Oak Senior Center

The Elena Baskin Live Oak Senior Center and the Senior Annex have a long history of providing services to seniors in the community, including the Meals of Wheels Program, Senior Network Services, senior education, and other services.  In response to an expiring lease on the facility, the Redevelopment Agency worked closely with the Senior Center and the Live Oak School District to develop a plan to enable this important community resource. The resultant plan was for the Live Oak School District to purchase the Senior Center property.  Funding for the District's purchase of the Senior Center was contingent upon the passage of the Live Oak School District Bond Measure E, which passed on the March 2004 ballot. A long-term lease between the Live Oak School District and the Senior Center was developed to ensure the continuation of these important senior services. The plan also provides the Live Oak Family Resource Center with the opportunity to develop a permanent home on a vacant portion of the property, and resulted in the Agency's acquisition of Pleasant Acres Mobile Home Park.

Live Oak Teen Center

Since 1998, the County Parks Department had been conducting a Teen Program for the young people in Live Oak and students of the Shoreline Middle School. But due to the lack of a suitable facility, the program had not been able to run continuously. Pressing demands for existing facilities allowed only sporadic, interim locations for the Teen Center.

Recognizing the importance of creating a long term, stable location for the Center, the Live Oak School District, the Parks Department and the Redevelopment Agency worked together to define the proper location for the program and then to provide the available space.

Everyone involved agreed that the best location for the Teen Program was on the Shoreline Middle School campus. The ultimate partership consisted of the Agency providing for the purchase and installation of a portable classroom to house the project, the School District providing the location on the campus and the Parks Department operating the program. The programs take place during the summer months and after school hours.

This partnership between three government entities creates a positive resolution for the true benefactors - the kids.

Completion Date: Spring, 2001

Main Street /East Walnut Pedestrian Bridge

This pedestrian bridge crosses Soquel Creek from Main Street to Soquel Elementary School. The bridge allows a safer, more direct, and attractive access for school children, pedestrians, bicyclists and the public in general. The entrance to the bridge access along Main Street was designed to incorporate the existing mini park. As part of this project, the Agency provided a shelter for school drop-off, decorative fencing to match the existing fencing, and landscaping, all of which has enhanced the Village character and the immediate neighborhood.

New bridge supports were located behind the existing bridge abutments which had been constructed in the 1860's of stone and mortar and appeared to be a natural part of the creek channel. Removal of the old abutments would have disrupted riparian vegetation, disturbed the existing banks and increased the potential for erosion.

Completion Date: January, 1992

Pleasure Point Community Planning Process

The Redevelopment Agency has funded a consultant contract, which is being administered by the County Planning Department. The Planning Department and the consultants, MIG from Berkeley, CA, have conducted a series of Community Workshops and will make recommendations for the Pleasure Point area. The first workshop took place at the Simpkins Family Swim Center in January 200 7. The second workshop was conducted in June of 2007, and the third was held in September of 2007. The consultants are in the process of completing their recommendations, and a draft of the projects Final Report should be ready by this summer. An "Open House" board session was held in July of 2008, to give Pleasure Point residents an additional chance to review the consultant's recommended policy changes that will facilitate community improvements and help retain the character of this unique neighborhood.

For additional details and updates, call Frank Barron of the County Planning Department at (831) 454-2580. Information regarding the workshops and the consultant's written reports and materials are available by clicking on "What's New" on the County Planning Department's webpage. http://www.sccoplanning.com/html/policy/pleasurept.htm. Note the new web address link.

Simpkins Family Swim Center

Built in conjunction with the Live Oak Community Center, this project was in the planning and financing stage for many years. It was finally made possible through a unique combination of funding sources – including County, Redevelopment, State and community fund raising. The Pool of Dreams Committee was instrumental in raising a portion of the money to expand the largest pool to a full 50 meter pool. This facility was designated as the Simpkins Family Swim Center because of the family’s significant support in helping to raise funds.

The facility includes the 50 meter pool, a warm water pool, wading pool, and water slide with splash-down pool. Lockers and changing rooms border the pool area. The public art component of the project includes eight large vase-like sculptures within the pool fence, each unique in shape and holding a different image of flora or fauna indigenous to Santa Cruz County. Most of the images were suggested at a public work session with the artist, who titled this work "Vessel Fence Line".

Over 400 people participated in the opening day celebrations. Though an extremely complex and difficult project to construct, it now stands as a monument to the Agency’s capability and its partnership with the community.

Completion Date: Fall, 1998

Recent Renovations:  After many successful years, the building required upgrades to make it more energy efficient and to bring it into compliance with current accessibility and safety regulations.  A new solar hot water preheat system, combined with a new array of on-demand gas water heaters have been installed, increasing capacity and reliability while reducing operating and maintenance costs.  New awnings, slip-resistant flooring, and parking lot changes will provide increased accessibility.  The shower and locker rooms are being upgraded with rust-proof and slip-resistant materials, and water conserving devices.

Completion Date: Fall, 2009

Soquel Village Parking (To view map of parking lots, click on thumbnail)

Through a community planning process in 1990, parking, traffic safety and pedestrian access were identified as major needs for Soquel Village. Specific improvements to address these problems were proposed in the Soquel Village Plan. In addition, the business owners in the Village were concerned enough about the parking issues that they established a Parking and Business Improvement Area to assess themselves for maintenance and operation of shared, public parking facilities. The construction and renovation of these lots was to be financed by the Redevelopment Agency.

The first lot to be completed, located on Soquel Drive next to the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship church, provides 47 parking spaces. The driveway off Soquel Drive was aligned with Daubenbiss Avenue, thereby minimizing traffic conflicts. In addition, curb, gutter, and sidewalks were constructed on the site frontage. A bus turnout and shelter were constructed to the west of the driveway access. A new traffic signal also was installed here as part of a later project.

The Daubenbiss parking lot included construction of a new entrance from Porter Street which helped improve access and circulation, construction of new parking spaces, sidewalks, landscaping and night lighting as well as sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements on the Daubenbiss Avenue frontage of the lot. Renovation of the existing 43 spaces and construction of an additional 13 spaces brought the total capacity of this lot to 56 parking spaces.

Acquisition of a non-exclusive easement for ingress and egress and public parking on the Porter Street Parking Lot was acquired by the Agency in 1990. This acquisition allowed safe access through the area and formalized public use of parking in the area.

Adjoining this lot is a ramp that leads to an easement that is part of a vehicular circulation pattern that runs parallel to Soquel Drive and is shared by all of the businesses on Soquel Drive between Porter Street and Soquel Creek. Access to parking designated for the businesses is from this easement, as well as 12 new public parking spaces that are in front of the Heart of Soquel Park, a property purchased by the Agency.

Rounding out public parking are various on-street parking opportunities. In total, the Agency has provided 151 public parking spaces in the Village, dramatically reducing local concerns about parking and providing access to area businesses.

The Hook Parking Lot

Located at the end of 41st Avenue, this lot provides parking for visitors to the East Cliff Drive area, one of the most scenic areas in the County and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Prior to 1999 the rustic parking area, a critical beach parking and coastal access area heavily used by the community, was a privately-owned, unpaved lot leased by the County. The Agency acquired the property, designed and constructed its improvements, including restrooms, showers, landscaping, and handicapped spaces.

The field stone covered building with skylights and an outdoor shower won the 1999 Beautification Award from the California Landscape Contractor Association Central Coast Chapter. This parking lot has been well-received by the community.

Completion Date: March, 1999

Twin Lakes Neighborhood Park

The Master Plan for Twin Lakes Park, located on 7th Avenue just north of Eaton Street, was developed and refined through the participation of the surrounding neighborhood and County staff. Public workshops were held to discuss potential park elements, which ultimately included a tennis court, half basketball court, play equipment, picnic area, lawn area, and restroom building.

An existing stand of mature oak trees at the rear and south sides was permanently maintained and all oak trees within the proposed grading areas were relocated within the site.

A three foot high, cast concrete sculpture of a sea otter entitled "Otter Touching It’s Tail" was chosen by the Arts Commission for the park. This playful image is one that invites interaction with children.

The name "Twin Lakes" identifies the geographic area where the park is located, referring to the two lakes that existed there - Schwann Lagoon and Woods Lagoon, which is now the location of the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor.

Completion Date: July, 1993

Willowbrook Park

This neighborhood park is located at the corner of Willowbrook Lane and Baseline Drive near Park Avenue. It includes a tennis court, two basketball half courts, tot lot and play area, picnic area, lawn area and restroom facility.

A pedestrian bridge crosses the riparian area that bisects the park and provides access to pathways connecting the play areas with the lawn area. Additional pedestrian access was provided by the installation of sidewalks along both streets.

Of particular concern in the construction of this park was the discovery of breeding grounds for the California Newt. While not yet on the endangered species list, local newt populations are rare. Protection of their habitat included removal of non-native vegetation and preservation of the existing willow growth areas. A low fence and signs remind visitors that this is a wildlife habitat.

The art designed for this park consists of a sculpture of three enlarged buckeye pods in white and black granite titled "Windfalls" and silhouettes of fallen leaves sandblasted in the concrete of the central picnic play area. Also included as part of the art element are the gently curved benches of white granite.

Completion Date: June, 1993