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05-08-18 PRABPARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD WORK SESSION May 8, 2018 1 The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board held a work session May 8, 2018 at the Parks 2 and Recreation Conference Room, 1501 E. Hadley, Las Cruces, NM, to discuss the 3 Apodaca Blue Print. 4 5 PARKS & RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: 6 Cassandra "Cassie" McClure 7 Mark O'Neill 8 Megan Schuller 9 10 OTHERS PRESENT: 11 Larry Nichols, Community Development Director 12 David Weir, Chief Planning Administrator 13 Sonya Delgado, Parks & Recreation Director 14 Franco Granillo, Acting Parks Administrator 15 Cathy Mathews, Landscape Architect 16 Phil Catanach, Recreation & Youth Services Administrator 17 Hazel Nevarez, Recording Secretary 18 19 Discussion on Apodaca Blue Print began at 6:05. 20 21 David Weir began with saying the Apodaca Blue Print are concepts and not a submittal 22 of where actual buildings will go. Some of the take aways the plan wants the City to 23 consider is: 24 • New access point to Madrid 25 • Different alignment for coming into Mesquite 26 • Taking emphasis of having to come down Madrid 27 • Incorporating some of the drainage for more useable space 28 • There are high tension electric wires, so provide a buffer from the neighborhood 29 and have some space that provides opportunity for a trail connection to the outFall 30 channel. 31 • Recommendation if other space is provided, it gives opportunity to look how 32 Apodaca Park is programmed 33 • Recommendation also to create a Master Plan for park and how property is 34 programmed 35 36 At this time, Ms. Delgado recommended introductions be made. Board members 37 introduced themselves and stated the district they represent. City staff introduced 38 themselves and stated their position. 39 40 Mr. Nichols reported he and Mr. Weir are from the administrative group that oversees 41 the Community Development Department. He said the whole endeavor of the Apodaca 42 Blue Print is aspirational and visionary. He said he wouldn't want anyone to believe the 1 I white buildings seen on the blue print are physical dimensions of projects planned. They 2 are not. It just gives a concept of how mixed housing, retail, anchor store, circulation 3 patterns, traffic — how it might envelop. He said the plan did not focus on parks figuring 4 it would be on the Parks Master Plan. 5 6 Mr. O'Neill reported he did go to open house, he did reply to survey and Mr. Pitts did 7 make a presentation to the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board on the Apodaca Blue 8 Print. He said the concern is, in this early stage, of course the Board wants to be involved 9 in the park stuff - there needs to be more open space as the highest thing in the survey 10 was open space and recreation and the plan is only committing 20%, but this isn't the 11 reason for this work session. 12 13 Mr. O'Neill said tonight's meeting is about how this plan affects the actual park area at 14 Apodaca Park. He said one thing the plan isn't clear to the public is the elimination of 15 parking. One drawing shows with parking and the rest of the drawings show without. 16 17 Mr. Weir said the plan doesn't propose any of that. He referred to page 43 which has 18 the working concept, which says "A future development plan does not make specific 19 programming and space planning recommendations for Apodaca Park (other than the 20 re-routing of traffic to the periphery of the property)." Mr. Weir shared some background 21 information on how this plan came about: The design engineer was hired by the property 22 owners of the Las Cruces Country Club and his concern was integrating one of the 23 largest vacant tracts inside the city. He knows the neighborhood is very active and 24 concerned of what takes place, he knows the city has interest in Madrid as one of the 25 east -west corridors the city has a part they are interested in. The engineer approached 26 the city to see if city would be interested in a planning effort for the country club property. 27 This was run by Administration and Assistant City Manager said there was possible 28 interest but it wasn't big enough. The city would want to include the neighborhood and 29 go through a public engagement process. The Plan went from the corner of Solano, 30 Main and Madrid to 700 plus odd acres. It is really a land use and reinvestment into the 31 neighborhood type of emphasis — more of how is this developing property in this existing 32 neighborhood going to interface with the park. The good thing is the park is in the city's 33 control and anything done to it has be approved by recommendation of city staff and 34 blessed by City Council. The plan's intent was more on the neighborhood and vacant 35 parcel. 36 37 Mr. Nichols referred to page 32 of the Apodaca Blue Print regarding preferences (focus 38 areas) of the study with the majority being recreation and open space and this is one of 39 the reasons the consultant and city staff said to expand on open space and trails but 40 didn't deal with the Apodaca ballfield and park. These preferences are the reasons why 41 the design came out the way it did. One thing that was mentioned was taking away some 42 of the parking from the ballfield and some of the thinking was removing streets and 43 parking giving more park and open space might not be such a bad idea. 44 2 I Mr. O'Neill said he wanted to make sure it was understood the park is used and full on 2 the weekends and ballfield being used at same time, and reason for his concern of 3 parking being eliminated. 4 5 Mr. Weir's response was a lot of options and concepts were discussed but the idea was 6 to maximize the space and what people could actually do. 7 8 Mr. O'Neill is just concerned there will be an uproar if the parking lot is eliminated. 9 10 Mr. Nichol's said he spent five years in Yuma, AZ as the Building official and Director of 11 Building department, and the most desired commodity there is shade. Coming back to 12 the El Paso, Las Cruces area and finds the most desired commodity is parking. 13 14 Ms. Schuller expressed coming from Phoenix, it is hotter than Las Cruces because of 15 asphalt. She said this is something to keep in mind as city builds on Las Cruces. 16 17 Ms. McClure asked for clarification on how is this plan aspirational — is everything around 18 the development area? Mr. Weir said concept is from property owners and people who 19 want to develop, and the current comprehensive plan encourages commercial and high- 20 volume streets and transition of uses from high intensity to lower and that buffers are 21 provided between those. Mr. Weir said one of the reasons the city wants to do this plan 22 is it gives the city the opportunity to say what infrastructure the city can handle, these 23 are the issues the city identifies, and neighborhood could express concerns — traffic, 24 drainage, what stores are next to them. Mr. Weir said the other thing the plan calls out 25 for is improvements to Madrid, to make it a more livable street, to make it a calmer street. 26 27 Ms. McClure asked if calming measures on Madrid will ultimately push people to use 28 proposed new road. Her concern is the Madrid intersection. Mr. Weir said city wants to 29 make sure the road is comfortable, safe, and alluring — with the existing commercial 30 zoning, people will reinvest and make it an asset to the community. 31 32 Mr. O'Neill said he has no problem with the plan, A and B, except for some more open 33 space, room for recreation, maybe coordinate some space with some of the programs 34 of the park. He said he knows he is dwelling on the parking issues. Ms. Schuller said 35 people could park at one of the proposed shopping centers — where people could spend 36 money at shopping center and walk to park — all inclusive. 37 38 Mr. Nichols said when he was in El Paso and the Chihuahua ball park was being built, 39 one of the concerns was parking. Today, the stadium is full and nothing has been said 40 about parking. With a big event, buses have been used to bring people to the ballfield. 41 42 Ms. McClure added it is a changing of mindset. She lives in the area and is excited about 43 the change. Her worry is more about the access and roads. Ms. Schuller agreed with 44 the access, coming off from Hwy 70/Main Street and traffic. 45 46 Mr. Weir said the intent is to provide those access points so it accommodates everything. 3 2 Mr. O'Neill asked if staff had any input. Ms. Delgado said she does want to see 3 something different where the golf course was. As it progresses, then can address some 4 of the needs with the park, if it needs to change or access. 5 6 Ms. Mathews said she likes the connectivity and the idea of connecting, especially with 7 investments made with the outfall channel trail and the investments the city is making 8 now and the planning for active transportation — biking, walking — making those activities 9 more accessible and making our park more accessible for those modes of transportation. 10 What she likes about having a concept plan to start with is when it comes time to review 11 the plans that come in for the developers, we have something to go back on. She likes 12 the idea of having a blue print that gives us some backing to our approval or disapproval 13 of proposals that come forward for development, that includes for the park as well. The 14 plan can be reviewed to see if intentions of blue print are met, does it allow for adequate 15 parking, does it encroach into the park without giving anything in return. She thinks 16 Apodaca Park is prime for renewal and maybe will go through a planning process just 17 for Apodaca Park. 18 19 Mr. O'Neill said he is just looking ahead, if parking is taken out, it will be hard to put back 20 in. Ms. Mathews said she has a personal philosophy of wanting green space, not 21 asphalt. She is resistant to spending park funds on parking lots. She said Apodaca Park 22 is defined as a community park by its uses, so it serves the whole community and parking 23 is necessary in its role as a community park. 24 25 Mr. Weir added the plan also has a transit route. 26 27 Mr. Catanach said when he thinks of expansion, he just wants playability, walkability, 28 and green space. He added Apodaca Park is a destination park and so it does have to 29 have parking. Apodaca is one of the big parks people drive to, it's an event park, so 30 there does have to be that balance, but he likes the open space where youth can play. 31 32 Mr. O'Neill asked when it comes back to the park, it is possible to keep the parking lot. 33 Ms. Delgado said when it comes to the park, it will go through the same process and 34 come through the Board and Board's recommendation will go to City Council. 35 36 Mr. O'Neill asked, referring to a mapped area on plan displayed on screen, if a road 37 could be a thoroughfare. He asked if this would be a possibility. Mr. Weir said it is a 38 possibility. The reason it doesn't show that way is because if you have a road with people 39 coming through, one side would be a park and the other side would be a park. If it's 40 pushed to the side, you have more programmable space. Mr. Weir said the concern in 41 opening it up is it would create a barrier, it becomes a street. Ms. Delgado added opening 42 the space, there would be too much traffic too fast and area would have youth there and 43 way too close to the edge if a splash pad is added. 44 45 Mr. Nichols asked if Mr. O'Neill wanted to discuss focus area B because when this plan 46 goes back to City Council on July 2"d, they will be approving the whole plan. Mr. O'Neill M 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 said his thoughts are more park related. Mr. O'Neill said he researched the disc golf, and he is thinking of a disc golf course on area B would be an important asset. He added some people would like a dog park. Mr. Nichols mentioned something that didn't come out at the City Council meeting May 7, 2018 was City is looking at inheriting a 55-acre park. Mr. Nichols said the whole Apodaca Blue Print as well as the additional park will be going to City Council July 2, 2018. Ms. Schuller thinks this additional park is great. Mr. Nichols said a couple of Council members are heavily vested in making the park a heritage park with landscape type of materials that are for a chihuahua desert with identifying plaques. He added Assistant City Administrator would like to see housing that would help support the cost of development. Mr. O'Neill thanked Mr. Weir and Mr. Nichols for being present and hearing Board concerns. Work session ended at 6:56 p.m. H z6I N� varez, Recording,$ecretary Mark O'Neill, Wair P&R Board 5