Redwood City sowing plans for green spaces

As the city braces for more residents and an aging population, it’s polling locals to find out what public spaces for play and exercise they’d like to see.

Redwood City leaders adopted plans this year to build up to 2,500 new housing units downtown, and faces proposals to build hundreds more near the Bay. At the same time, they have established firm plans to provide 3 acres of developed park space per 1,000 residents — no small feat in a growing city of 75,000 with dwindling amounts of undeveloped land.

The city’s parks department is running a survey through August to find out what residents want. That way, leaders can focus financial resources and development where it counts, according to Jeri Joseph-Hover, a member of the Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission.

“We’ve come up with a strategic plan, but we want to make sure that it lines up with the needs of the public,” Hover said. “We want to know we’re on the right track.”

The five-minute survey asks residents where in town they live; what purpose they think parks should serve, from nature walks to activity centers for seniors; why people do or don’t visit Redwood City’s parks and recreation facilities; whether new services should cater to seniors, teens, children or all of them; and how far people have to travel to get to their neighborhood park.

Already, more than 90 people have offered their two cents’ worth in the survey, Joseph-Hover said.

A parkland inventory conducted by city leaders last year showed that although Redwood City has 3 acres of developed parks per 1,000 residents — including athletic fields, small green spaces and some schoolyards — much of that space is in fast-growing Redwood Shores.

In other neighborhoods, such as Mezesville, residents make do with small block-size parks, and see little opportunity to build new ones.

“If the park wasn’t across from my house, I’d probably go loony,” said resident Judy Buchan, who regularly walks her dog in Mezes Park. “But there’s no place else to put anything — and if they do build new ones, who’s going to pay to maintain them?”

Once residents make their opinions known, city leaders will compile survey responses and come up with a list of priorities to work through during the next 10 to 15 years, according to Redwood City Parks Director Corinne Centeno. A number of workshops will be held to fine-tune the plan before it is adopted by the parks and recreation commission.

bwinegarner@examiner.com


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