After 14 years on the drawing board and a couple false starts, the 1.1 acre weed-patch known as Windsor Point Park might become the green spot that residents of the Windsor, Marina and Marina Woods neighborhoods were promised when they moved here.
The park, located on Francisco Drive across from Marina Village Middle School at Schooner Drive, has been a neighborhood eyesore for years.
Local residents Sue Parker and Kim White attended El Dorado Hills Community Services District budget meetings and voiced support for their park. They were later joined by Heidi Hannaman, and used a combination of e-mail blasts, social networking and shoe leather to gain support for the park in their neighborhood, collecting more than 100 signatures in eight days.
Money has been set aside for the park for years, but past proposals failed because residents refused to approve steep park maintenance assessments.
In May 2008 voters narrowly defeated a packaged Landscape and Lighting Assessment for both Windsor Point and Lake Forest parks that ranged from $59 per year for residents near Lake Forest to $229 for those near Windsor Point.
A “Lake Forest only” assessment was approved the following year with promises by the CSD to get back to Windsor Point … some day.
“Our goal early on was to keep it simple, and under $50 a year,” said Parker.
The Lake Forest Owners Association, which is responsible for the lush landscaping along Francisco Drive, lent a hand. HOA Director Ray Myers heard about the project and got estimates for basic grading, irrigation and landscaping for a simple turf-based park design.
He took his design and estimates to the CSD board, who quickly embraced the simplified, “grass-roots” design, with Director Bill Vandegrift taking the lead, and directed Parks staff to work with them.
Myers committed $10,000 from the association toward roadside improvements in the park. With a 10 percent CSD contribution, the current projected annual assessment is only $48.50.
A mail ballot to the 462 affected residents will be sent out in June. A simple majority of those responding is required to approve the assessment district, and thus the park.
The preliminary design is built around a large, multi-purpose turf area with a low fence along Schooner Drive and an assortment of inexpensive paths, picnic tables, benches and modest landscaping. A concrete area with ball wall and basketball hoop is also still in the mix.
White and Parker gushed thanks to Myers, CSD Parks staff, former GM John Skeel, interim GM Rich Ramirez, Vandregrift and the rest of the CSD board for all their support pulling the necessary documents together in time to get the park on a ballot this year.