Friends of Windsor Point Park arrived at its official groundbreaking ceremony last Friday morning to a welcome scene — a construction crew busily working.
Residents of the Windsor, Marina and Marina Woods neighborhoods had heard for years that the 1.1-acre vacant lot on the corner of Francisco and Schooner Drives would be a neighborhood park.
“When we moved in 10 years ago I was told a park was being built, but it’s just been an eyesore ever since,” said Sue Parker of the overgrown grass and weeds that took over the space.
Parker, along with Kim White and Waterford resident Heidi Hannaman spearheaded the effort to eventually bring the park to fruition.
The El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board of Directors set money aside to build Windsor Point Park years ago, but in May 2008 neighborhood voters defeated a Landscape and Lighting Assessment for both Windsor Point and Lake Forest parks. Parker explained the single vote for two parks was an uphill battle from the start because many voters wanted one or the other park; plus, the combined maintenance fees were steep. More than 450 homes within a half-mile of Windsor Point (on one side of Francisco) would have to pay a combined $240 per year on maintenance for both parks while Lake Forest Park neighbors only had to pay $72 for the Lake Forest community park. There are distinctions between neighborhood and community parks, and the number of people pitching in for community parks is usually greater and brings the cost per household down.
A Lake Forest only assessment was later approved but, Parker said, “Neighbors from both sides agreed it would still be to everyone’s benefit to clean up that corner.” Waterford resident Ray Myers proved to the CSD there was community interest by drawing the park’s provisional plans and helping raise the $10,000 reserve fee the CSD required.
Parker and friends also collected the minimum 100 signatures needed to show community support, walking door to door handing out fliers. People still didn’t want to pay $168 a year in fees for Windsor Point Park alone. So they worked with the CSD to get the cost down and revised the park plans, getting rid of a planned play structure.
“We thought it should complement Lake Forest park and not duplicate what they already have,” said Parker. “Kim White was the one who had the great idea of a turf field.”
The park will also have picnic tables, a backboard for wall ball, a half-court for basketball and a one-third-mile circular concrete walkway surrounding the perimeter for bikes and scooters.
With these changes, yearly maintenance for Windsor Point Park alone was brought down to $48.50 per home; 52 percent of voters said yes to the fee in June 2012.
CSD General Manager Brent Dennis led Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony and was joined by board members Terry Crumpley, Noelle Mattock and Bill Vandegrift. He noted the park is being built on schedule and under (the 450K) budget. Because of this, nicer amenities like tubular black fencing will go in instead of chain link. And concrete will be used instead of decomposed granite.
The park is slated to open this fall.