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Community Input Needed For Parks, Rec Project Planning

Groveland, CA — Aiming to build enthusiasm and momentum for community improvement projects, the activities of an ad hoc group are gaining steam in Groveland.

Groveland Community Services District (GCSD) General Manager Pete Kampa shares that among the goals of the newly organized district-sponsored group, dubbed the Groveland Regional Area Community Enhancement team, or GRACE for short, are supporting innovative recreational opportunities, embracing the region’s diverse demographics fostering inclusivity, and ensuring the district’s delivery of superior customer service.

Tioga High School officials and students, a Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District boardmember, Tuolumne County leaders, special interest groups’ representatives, non-profit organization reps, and others crammed into the GSCD’s boardroom for last week’s initial meeting. Kampa says those involved are charged with capturing all of the ideas they can from the local community as to what enhancements residents wish to see become available through the district’s park services.

The next meeting on Saturday, April 27, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Tioga High School Gym is geared for public participation. “This will be a facilitated brainstorming workshop to gather the input from each segment within the district,” Kampa explains. “We have a number of facilities that have been around for decades there in Groveland and there is a changing population and needs — and so we began to look at ways to really fully engage the public to come out and give us some ideas.”

Looking At Direct Allocation Funding, Possible Grant Resources

Just from Prop 68 funding that is rolling out right now, Kampa says the district should be getting $200,000. “We really need to be prepared with a plan that identifies the needs and projects and ways to get them funded. Several kinds of funds are going to be available for both direct allocation to park improvement projects and for competitive grant programs over the next three years. So we want to make sure that we have some very well thought out community-supported projects as we go forward.”

Current GCSD rec holdings include Mary Laveroni Park, which offers picnic tables and barbecue pits; a restroom; a playground structure and stage area; grassy open space; a basketball court and a small skate park. “A number of things need to be done to improve it, make it more accessible…more functional and to reduce operating costs,” he confides. “Leon Rose Ballfield, which was constructed decades ago, has been to some degree mothballed due to lack of funds and there is a small dog park next to it,” he adds.

As far as new ideas being kicked around, Kampa says there are quite a few. “A group from Tioga High wants to get the Leon Rose field back up and running for softball and baseball. There was interest in a community pool of some sort. There was a lot of interest in recreational trails…for mountain biking, walking, hiking.” He lists off other possibilities that have been raised such as a disc golf course, a gazebo or other small structures that could be rented out for birthday parties and other events.

Among other discussions in play is one about connecting Big Oak Flat through Pine Mountain Lake to Big Creek by trail. “The district has a large parcel of land that is pretty much about the size of Groveland that could have significant trails on it,” Kampa says. Other ideas range from creating additional parking for the downtown area to building an RV park on district property to support economic development and tourism.

“The main thing to know is that the April public meeting is not the be-all-end all meeting,” Kampa stresses. “It is the first in a series to do outreach and get feedback. Between the water and sewer and fire and parks and rec, [the district] is there to provide the services that are needed by the community and the parks are an important part of the social aspects of the community.”

For more information about the district’s doings and plans, click here.