Recreation uses suggested for city-owned site
An assortment of long-sought sports, recreational and other public amenities has been suggested for one of the largest-remaining, vacant city-owned sites, the land on west Bastanchury Road once planned for a 1,200-student Friends Christian High School.
The suggestions are in a report commissioned by the city from the Urban Land Institute and discussed briefly at a recent City Council session before a unanimous “receive and file” vote.
Among ideas proffered in the report are dog and skate parks, soccer fields and an equestrian center, with construction financed by selling a portion of the 40-acres for residential development. However, the report did not address funding for ongoing maintenance of public areas.
And, importantly, three council members indicated the site is not high priority, falling behind Town Center development and decisions regarding a potential new library and possible actions on the proposed 452 Esperanza Hills-Cielo Vista homes just north of the city limits.
The city is obtaining appraisals on the three properties comprising the 40.5 acres on the north side of Bastanchury Road between Casa Loma and Eureka avenues: the 13.5-acre southern “base” site, the 19.37-acre middle “main” site and the 7.63-acre northern “tank farm” site.
Only the “base” site, currently zoned residential estate with an oil overlay, is without development restrictions. The “main” and “tank farm” sites, now zoned planned development, have deed restrictions from seller Shell-Western allowing public uses but no housing.
Concepts developed for the entire site took into consideration more than 180 email and regular mail responses the city received last year after a public input request and more formal replies to “requests for interests” conducted by the city, also last year.
The responses suggested 38 different uses, including such non-starters as cemetery, lake, bowling alley, medieval village, water park, western-theme park and a villas-hotel complex.
Most-mentioned ideas were compiled for a top 10 list: children's park, church, community events, dog park, equestrian, homes, library, skate park, sports complex and tennis courts.
Current “base” site zoning would allow 24 homes at 1.8 units-per-acre, with the city realizing a potential $15.2 million for the land. Other options: 35 homes at 2.6 units-per-acre for $17.1 million and 47 homes at 3.5 units-per-acre for $20 million.
The report presented three concepts for the site:
--Two soccer fields, playground, dog park, skate park, community building, restroom, amphitheater and five-acre equestrian center costing $17.4 million.
--One soccer field, playground, four tennis courts, dog park, skate park, picnic area and eight-acre equestrian center at $15.4 million.
--Traditional park, playground, two soccer fields, one artificial turf soccer field with stadium seating, restroom, skate park and 10-acre equestrian center at $16.4 million.