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May 27, 2018
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Cotati looking for input on park improvements

  • La Plaza Park on a Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
April 20, 2018

The City of Cotati recently completed three workshops to gain community input into the parks master plan and is now in the process of completing a survey for those who could not attend. The purpose of the workshops and survey is for the city to gauge what amenities, improvements, or changes the community would like to see in the Cotati parks. The city will then prioritize those amenities and finalize a park master plan for each Cotati park.

Each workshop had about 10 to 15 participants and at the time of this writing close to 40 people responded to the survey. The city provided inspiration boards at the workshops to foster ideas of possible improvements, but was also open and accepting to other ideas from the public. Individuals’ concerns varied widely depending on their use of the local parks and proximity to them.

“It was all across the board,” says Ashley Wilson, Recreation Coordinator for the City of Cotati. “There were some parents of small children, there were some people that were more interested in environmental impacts and some people more interested in animals and access for dogs like dog parks and dog fountains. Some people were more interested in irrigation practices. Some were just residents that wanted to know about parks near their home and how potential changes could impact their life.”

There are 11 parks in Cotati and priorities will be set based on both the aging facilities of the parks as well as which ones are most heavily used. Some of the top priorities most likely include Putnam Park and La Plaza Park, both heavily used spaces. Other parks mentioned as priorities include Kotate Park and Civic Center Park. 

Once the priorities have been finalized, costs will be estimated and a budget completed. While some projects could take months or even years to get to completion, some smaller items could be completed as quickly as this summer. The goal is to have the park master plan completed by the end of June.

“There are two different paths for the different improvements, repairs and updates,” says Wilson. “Some will go into capital improvement projects because they’re very big, like a skate park, for example. Some things are much smaller and easier to fix and can be done with our current staff and supplies, like installing new benches, putting in new water fountains, or fixing a broken swing. Those kinds of things can happen more immediately.”

By next week the city hopes to post a slideshow on their website for the public to see the whole process from community input through completion. 

Funding for the project will come from a mix of sources, including the city’s capital improvements fund as well as, hopefully, some grants. 

“Part of the project is to identify potential funding sources,” says Wilson. “Our consultant will help us find companies thacan provide those services and give us estimates so we know how much we need. There are grants for these types of projects. Then we’ll have a place to start and know how we can get some of those resources.”

Some parks in the city have already seen some improvements over the course of the past two years. Most recently Sunflower Park reopened its bathrooms and the tennis courts were redone, with pickle ball courts added as well. Civic Center Park received upgrades to the sidewalk and additional parking, and its basketball courts were redone a few years ago. The Veronda-Falletti Ranch walking path across from city hall also saw improvements this past year. 

“In parks and rec our slogan is ‘parks make life better’,” says Wilson. “I can’t wait for Cotati to see how parks really do make life better.” Concurrently with the creation of the parks master plan, the City of Cotati is also working on a bike and pedestrian wayfinding signage program. The new system will help people find their way and encourage visitors to discover Cotati. The city held a public workshop to get the public’s input in March, and another workshop is being scheduled in the beginning of May.