NOTICE: PARK PLAN CHANGE - the approved park plan has to be changed to remove the south east corner - including the planned pedestrian entrance from Avocado Ave. As of late August 2005 plans are being made to create a pedestrian entrance much further south on Avocado to cross under the power lines and then have a path north to the southern edge of the park.
In late August 2005 we received word that the park opening will be delayed until at least April 2006.
As of late February 2006 we have received word that the pedestrian entrance will be located at the intersection with Alameda Street (where the existing vehicle gates are). The path will then proceed across the Edison land using the existing City easement. Once the path gets to the City owned land located west of the Edison wires, the path will proceed north to the southern edge of the park. This location and path are expected to be temporary. As the result of negotiations with Edison involving the Ice Rink project it is expected that the pedestrian entrance will be moved further north on Avocado, probably to just south of Del Vina Street.
Viña Vieja Park is a new city park which will be located at 2036 East Orange Grove Blvd. That is east of the Eaton Wash flood control channel, south of Orange Grove, west of residences on Orange Grove and Avocado, and north of a line about 50 ft south of Las Lunas. The total area is about 7.5 acres (minus the new SCE safety zone, see update above). Until November 7, 2005 the park was named Eaton Wash Park.
Ground-breaking for the park took place on March 6, 2005. Click here for a picture of the shovel ceremony, including the child and dog representing our neighborhood.
Construction began in May 2005. A contract was awarded by the city to Fleming Environmental Incorporated.
The most prominent feature of the new park is the off-leash dog area in the south-west corner. This is a 2.5 acre separately fenced area where dogs will be able to run and play without being on leashes. There are trash cans, a people/dog drinking fountain, and a bench for humans with less energy then the dogs. Human users of the dog area are expected to pick up after their dogs. The area is sub-divided with a separate smaller area for small dogs. Each area includes turf mounds with tunnels for the dogs to run through.
Just north of the dog area are a restroom and a children's play area. North of that will be a reconstructed historic gazebo/picnic shelter which will be moved from the historic Stuart Pharmaceutical site on Foothill Blvd.
Both the dog area and the play area are to have many surrounding trees, including leaving the existing oak trees along the western border with the flood control channel.
A 56 space parking lot in the middle of the park is accessed via a driveway from Orange Grove Blvd.
On the eastern side of the park, under the high-tension electric wires, is an open turf area with decomposed granite walkways, a couple of benches and a couple of picnic tables. The electric lines which were on the wooden poles have been now been undergrounded (August '05) or moved up onto new metal towers. The area immediately adjacent to the backyards of homes on Avocado is to be planted with shrubs and vines to discourage people from going close to the backyards. In addition, the chain link fence of the park is to be 5 feet from the backyard fences of the homes, with decomposed granite ground cover in between.
There was to be a pedestrian only entrance near the south-east corner of the park from the corner of Avocado Avenue and Las Lunas Street. However, at the end of July 2005 it was learned that the power lines are too low in what was to be the south-east corner of the park and therefore this area will be fenced off and the originally planned pedestrian entrance cannot exist. Instead a pedestrian entrance gate will be put in further south on Avocado with a path to cross under the power lines and then north to the park. See Park Plan Change
The park is to be open only during daylight hours. It will not be lighted. The park will not be fenced along Orange Grove from the driveway to the west. The current city thinking is that leaving it unfenced will make it easier to police in off-hours since the police and park ranger patrols will be able to just drive in and not have to pre-announce their presence by fidgeting with a lock and gate. East of the driveway, the previously existing ivy covered fence north of the high-tension line towers will be left in place, but there will not be a fence around the non-landscaped zone around the towers. There will just be "climbing discouragers" on the towers. The fenced sides will be a 6 foot chain link fence. At least a portion of the fence will be grounded due to the proximity to the high tension wires. The restroom and the pedestrian only entrance gate are to be locked at night.
Land and Development Costs
The western portion of the park is on city owned land which was deeded to the city as dedicated parkland. The eastern portion of the park will be licensed by the city from Southern California Edison for use as parkland for $14,000 a year. The license does not include the land under the wires south of the park which the city anticipates using in conjunction with the ice rink development. But, the city intends to use money allocated for the ice rink development to pay for the Edison license for the first five years based on the fact that redesigning the park to use the Edison land made the space available for use by the ice rink and that makes its use for the lease consistent with use for "aquisition costs" for the ice rink. Here is the City Council Agenda Item for authorizing the license agreement.
The funds for undergrounding/raising the wires currently on wooden poles in the park area is also coming from the 2 million dollars allocated for moving the ice rink. That cost is something like $783,000.
Here is some more information about the how the park will be built. This is a City Council Agenda Item authorizing additional budget expenditures.