Riverside seeks to expand and connect recreational opportunities along the Santa Ana River, raising the profile of the namesake of the Inland Empire’s largest city.
And Riverside residents will soon be invited to share their thoughts on what should happen in what’s called the River-side Gateway project.
“The idea is to have a master plan that puts the river back into Riverside,” Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said on Tuesday, July 27, picking up a theme from her State of the City address in January.
The plan targets nine areas for improvement, including Fairmount Park, Loring Park, Carlson Park, Martha McLean-Anza Narrows Park, Jurupa Avenue trailhead near Van Buren Boulevard, and areas near Ryan Park. Bonaminio. People are already recreating in these places, but city leaders are planning more.
“Right now it’s a bit disjointed in the sense that there are only parks there,” said Lock Dawson. “But what we would like it to be is a continuous mosaic where there are themes that relate to the different areas along the river.”
Potential additions include items such as ziplines, bike racks and repair stations, native plant gardens, habitat restoration efforts, interpretive signs, amphitheatres, camping areas, picnic areas, viewpoints, stairs, dog parks, skate parks, trails and water features among others, a city report says.
“These are just ideas,” said Randy McDaniel, deputy director of parks, recreation and community services last week.
In May, the city hired Studio-MLA of Los Angeles for $ 1.963 million to work with the community to develop a campaign to revitalize the Santa Ana River. The plan is expected to be completed by June 2023.
“Just as city leaders imagine,” said Mia Lehrer, President of Studio-MLA, in a press release, “our team will uncover opportunities to enhance wildlife habitat and restore wetlands as community access spans these nine beautiful waterfront sites. “
Studio-MLA previously helped develop a revitalization plan for the headwaters of the Los Angeles River.
McDaniel said the potential range of construction costs in the Riverside project is wide and will depend on the plan that emerges. City officials have estimated those costs could range from $ 25 million to $ 35 million for the nine sites, he said, and $ 4 million to $ 8 million for Fairmount Park alone.
Once the plan is completed, McDaniel said the city will need to seek grants to pay for the construction of individual elements.
McDaniel presented preliminary ideas to the Parks and Recreation Commission at its meeting on Monday, July 19.
The Fairmont Park / Camp Evans area, he said, could be the perfect location for a zipline, camping area, interpretive trail, oak forests, small amphitheater, and early parking. of the trail.
Nearby Loring Park could have trails, stairs and an arboretum, he said.
“There are some great vistas up there that we would like to capitalize on,” McDaniel said.
Carlson Park, a dog park at the foot of Mount Rubidoux along Mission Inn Avenue, offers the opportunity to create an attractive entrance into Riverside by crossing the river from Jurupa Valley and improve a trailhead, McDaniel said. He added that there was a man-made waterfall called St. Francis Falls there and a neon sign at the top.
“The fountain has deteriorated over time and the landscaping doesn’t really exist anymore. And that’s not sustainable, ”he told park commissioners, according to the videotape of the meeting. “So we just have to look at what is and how to make a nice entry for the city of Riverside again.”
South of there, a new decomposed granite trail could be built along the existing paved river path, with rest areas, water fountains and new landscaping. Improvement ideas near Ryan Bonamino Park on the south side of Mount Rubidoux include a bike repair kiosk, a trail leading to the Santa Ana River Trail, a dog park, a skate park, horse stables and l expansion of a community garden, a city states report.
The Jurupa Avenue trailhead may have horse riding facilities, bike lockers and repair stations.
At Martha McLean-Anza Narrows Park, according to the report, potential improvements include a decomposed granite trail along the existing paved bike path, a staircase and wheelchair accessible ramp to the river, a playground on the water theme, an observation area at the highest point of the park and the replacement of an aging toilet building.
“It’s the gateway to the river,” McDaniel said. “People are swimming in the river from this point.”