Friday, January 26, 2007

My Guerneville River Park wish list

In my previous posting, I enthusiastically praise what Parks & Rec has done with the new Guerneville River Park. However, I do have reservations concerning future plans for the rest of Phase I, along with Phases II & III.

Here is my personal wish list for the Guerneville River Park going forward:
  1. A floating outdoor stage: If the outdoor stage area is built according to the plans submitted by Parks & Rec to the RRROC, I'm worried that it'll look like a concrete monstrosity (le Corbusier meets Home Despot). Parks & Rec recommends using concrete & stainless steel to protect against flooding. But perhaps we would have more aesthetically-pleasing options if the outdoor stage could float. This may sound crazy, but entire neighborhoods of amphibious houses that can float in case of flooding are being built in the Netherlands (which is notoriously below sea-level).
  2. More natural materials in the landscaping: I understand that we need to use concrete & steel for the bathroom, picnic tables, paths, etc. But can't we soften the potentially forbidding effect through judicious use of natural materials for the borders, low concrete walls, etc? For example, a wood border around the concrete pads for the picnic tables (& perhaps some hardy ground-cover plants within the bordered area) would look nice.
  3. And more landscaping in general: Perhaps the RRROC can provide funding for hiring a local landscaping contractor who's creative, knowledgeable about hardy plants that thrive in our little microclimate, experienced in both hardscaping & softscaping, & who understands maintenance & construction issues. Jaimie Hart, please send RRROC a proposal ASAP!!!!
  4. Public Art: I think it's important for our new park to showcase the unique natural beauty & creative talents of our community, instead of just looking like any old park. We could have sculptures by local artists like Karen Ryer of the Withywindle Gallery in Guerneville or whoever makes those wonderful found-art sculptures of people & animals like the guy with the red, light-up nose on River Road. A few redwood burl benches by local craftspeople, enclosed in arbors designed by local gardeners/landscapers would look wonderful. We could also commission a mural for the outdoor stage area. Perhaps a local arts organization could request funding from the RRROC for commissioning these public works & artists could then submit applications.
  5. A pedestrian/bike path connecting the playground, basketball court & tennis courts at Drake Park to the River Park: This seems like it would be a no-brainer, since connecting the two parks would create a unified recreation area & keep our children from getting run over by cars.
  6. Regular maintenance for ALL of our parks: I hate to think of what our new park may look like in a few years if we don't maintain it. Alas, someone told me at the RRROC meeting that we don't have any funds for ongoing maintenance & would need to pass a ballot measure for a special assessment of $10 per parcel. I would vote for this, even though we can barely even afford to pay our current level of property taxes. (Where does all of that money go? I have this recurring image of County personnel running hundred dollar bills through the paper shredder to use as confetti for the yearly office holiday party ... no wonder the 2nd installment is due in December) Or we could organize groups of volunteers for work days. I'd be willing to volunteer -- but I ain't touching that portapotty in Drake Park. Perhaps we can create a new & prestigious-sounding position such as "Lord Chamberlain of the Drake Park Portapotty" & set aside funds for a modest weekly stipend in exchange for keeping the portapotty clean & sweet-smelling. Fat chance.
That's it for now, since I still need to plough through a whole buncha documents before I have any real sense of what will be happening in Phases II & III -- such as the "boat portage facility" & parking for boat trailers & recreational vehicles. And,what, exactly, does Parks & Rec mean by the "interpretive signs" they plan to add in Phase II? Are they related to interpretive dance?

I imagine myself standing in front of one of these "interpretive signs," gazing at the abstract symbols & frowning with puzzlement as I try to figure out what dance the creator of the sign wants me to perform. If I don't get it right, the Park Police won't allow me to proceed to the next "interpretive sign." Oh wait ... there's no money for maintenance, hence no Park Police. Whew!

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