Bigger or smaller? Dog park or pool? The town wants to hear your thoughts
At the March 3 meeting of the Windsor Town Council, the council approved a master professional services agreement with Gates + Associates for the Keiser Park Master Plan Update and Preliminary Site Designs.
The history of Keiser Park dates back to its purchase in 2003 which was done using Open Space Grant funds. The park’s Master Plan was completed in 2008, with phase I construction completed in 2011.
The Keiser Park plan appears in the 2040 General Plan, which was adopted 2018. The General Plan Policy PFS-9.20 Keiser Park Master Plan states, “the town shall implement the Keiser Park Master Plan, based on community input, to accommodate an Aquatics Center, multi-generational Community Center and expansion of parkland.”
The Keiser Park plan is also part of the 2030 Parks and Recreation Master Plan (PRMP), which was adopted in 2017. Part of that process included extensive community outreach to identify emerging interests and multiple goals and recommendations to advance Keiser Park development.
The PRMP has a list of goals for enhancing the Windsor park system. Two in particular are part of the recommendations related to Keiser Park.
Goal 2 provides adequate park acreage to meet the community’s needs for active and passive recreation, which staff correlates to the acquisition of additional land adjacent to Keiser Park to expand Keiser Park’s acreage to meet the needs for community park acreage.
Goal 5 is meant to develop facilities that encourage active participation, and are accessible and affordable, which correlates to the development of a Keiser Park Aquatics Center that is multi-use; accommodating the various aquatics activities including swim lessons, recreational swim, water polo, therapeutic swim, competitive swim and aqua aerobics. Part of goal five would also include evaluating the opportunity to integrate additional programs and services into a multi-generational, multicultural community center at Keiser Park.
In September 2020, and based on these adopted policies and recommendations, the town submitted a grant application to Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District in 2020 to acquire four properties adjacent to Keiser Park for an expansion potential of 2.33 acres. The grant was approved in March.
In addition to the purchase of these parcels, the grant application includes $315,000 for a Keiser Park Master Plan update process. The Open Space grant is a 50% matching grant program. If awarded, the Town intends to use dedicated Park Development and Measure M Parks for All funds to provide the match. In addition to the 2.33 acres included in the grant application request, there is another 2.55-acre parcel adjacent to the park which may be a potential acquisition opportunity in the future. This expansion potential was not considered when the 2008 Keiser Park Master Plan was adopted. The grant announcements are expected for final approval late March 2021.
Phase I of the Keiser Park Master Plan was completed in 2011, and it included the playground, ball fields, the trail system, the restrooms and concession area and the parking lots. Phases II and III are meant to include an aquatic facility — featuring a recreation pool and a competition pool, creek restoration, picnic areas, additional parking and a recreation center, including a gym.
However, an update of the Keiser Park Master Plan is necessary because the original plan does not include expansion potential and because the size and scale of facilities need to be evaluated based on the town’s current needs. It will also include a review of other property available for development.
Among the funding opportunities available to support this process include the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District Grant Application, a Lytton Rancheria of California Community Benefit Project, park development funds and Measure M funds.
A request for proposal (RFP) for the creation of the Keiser Park Master Plan Update was distributed Oct. 19 and closed on Nov. 19, 2020. According to staff there were 13 qualified applicants, with three firms selected for interviews. From those, Gates + Associates was selected for the task.
The final product that Gates + Associates will provide the town will include an updated Keiser Park Master Plan report, with an environmental review of the updated plan, facility design renderings, a phased construction plan with cost estimates and funding alternatives for phased development of the plan. Though this work will include preliminary site designs and exterior building renderings, it will not provide a detailed level of building design or construction documents.
According to the board packet this will happen once the updated Keiser Park Master Plan has been adopted, the environmental review in complete and a funding strategy has been identified.
The contract with Gates + Associates contract is worth $273,570 and the council authorized the town manager to approve amendments on the contract for up to 20% of the original contract amount.
According to the board packet, the Keiser Park Master Plan update will be funded through Park Development and Measure M funds and will not require funding from the town’s General Fund. The biennium council-adopted Fiscal Year 2019-21 Capital Improvement Program budget includes $1 million for a park land acquisition project including $500,000 of that funding coming from the proposed grant application and $500,000 coming from the Park Development Fund.
The 2020 grant application submitted was $1.3 million and will require $650,000 from the Park Development Fund with the remainder supplemented by Measure M funds. Currently, the Park Development Fund balance is $633,000 and the Measure M fund balance is $410,340 and will support the increase in the project costs.
The proposed schedule for the work is as follows:
March - Agreement Execution
Summer - Community Outreach
Fall - Draft Conceptual Plans
Winter 21/22 – Finalize Preliminary Plans
Spring 2022 - Environmental Review
Summer 2022 - Council adoption Master Plan Update
Discussion among the council members focused primarily on costs and location, with Vice Mayor Sam Salon positing that a different location should be considered to avoid people having to drive to the proposed amenities for the purpose of climate protection.
However, Parks & Rec Director Jon Davis said they had done a fairly high level of analysis of potential locations in Windsor and that Keiser Park was clearly the superior choice.
Ultimately that item passed 3-1, with Salmon voting against it.