Construction is underway in the City of Cypress on a new $13 million sports park located inside the Los Alamitos Race Course—but though the site’s nine acres were donated by the Southern California horse racing venue, city officials say the development of the park has been a community effort.
“In Cypress, we're a little bit different than a lot of cities,” Cameron Harding, the city’s director of Recreation and Community Services, told The Epoch Times. “We have a Park and Recreation District, which is almost like a separate budget within the city.”
Harding said before starting the project, the city hired a consultant to determine what the community wanted and needed from a park.
“The city hired a consultant to come in and do several community outreach meetings, meet with local youth sports groups, that sort of thing, and get an idea of just the parks and [recreation] facilities throughout the entire city. And that report revealed a shortage of athletic fields, amongst other things,” Harding said.
Design of the park’s features was also done through various public outreach campaigns.
“When we actually got the land donated, we did some more community outreach with the same types of groups, to make sure that we were going down the right path in selecting this sort of design,” Harding said.
“And we had a conceptual design and pulmonary design done, again with consultants and working hand-in-hand with the community.”
The assembled information was then brought before the Cypress City Council. “The council determined that this was the best design for the community,” Harding said.
The new facility will be the 21st park in the city. Most are “passive, open-style” parks, he said.
“There's only two others that have baseball and softball fields. Based on the outreach that we did and the facility conditions assessment report, we really felt like we needed more athletic fields within the city,” he said.
“We're very dependent on the school district, particularly for soccer fields. And we'd like to have a little bit more control over the situation with our athletic fields."
In addition to two athletic fields, the park will include playgrounds, large outdoor exercise equipment, a quarter-mile walking path, multi-use courts for basketball, pickleball, and volleyball, picnic tables, barbecue grills, eco-friendly electric vehicle charging stations, and 244 parking spaces.
Ground breaking on the project, located at the corner of Lexington Drive and Cerritos Avenue, took place on Nov. 16.
“The city is allocating funds from their infrastructure reserve to build the park,” Harding said. “And then the Park District will pay the city back, through developer fees, as the park gets built and some of the surrounding areas of the race course gets developed.”
Cypress Mayor Rob Johnson said in a press release that the city “cannot wait for the completion of this project next fall.”
“This new Cypress park will have a variety of features so there is something for everyone in our community to enjoy,” he said.
Harding added the city is planning for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening in November 2021.