Neighbors: Shrink park at Mulcahy |

Neighbors: Shrink park at Mulcahy

John HartGrass Valley plans to build a park at Mulcahy Field, just off Alta Street.
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Grass Valley’s future park at Mulcahy Field off Alta Street should be small enough to fit the neighborhood, nearby residents say.

The Grass Valley City Council listened Tuesday to the neighbors’ concerns, including the size of the planned soccer field and future nighttime security for the 12.71-acre site next to the city’s water treatment plant.

The city consultant hired to prepare the environmental impact study for the project will respond to the neighbors’ concerns, city officials said Tuesday.

Avila Lowrance, president of the Alta Hill Homeowners’ Association, said Wednesday the soccer field should be smaller and built away from the neighborhood’s backyards. The proposed field is large enough for three games, she said.

The park will also have tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground, a picnic area and other amenities.

The preliminary environmental study has concluded that a 9-foot-high sound wall could be necessary if two soccer games are played simultaneously at the park.

Sound walls are unsightly, expensive and do not work, Lowrance said.

“We’re going to push for a reduction in size of the (soccer) field and in the number of activities scheduled at the park so a sound wall is not necessary,” Lowrance said.

Sandy Jacobson, parks and recreation coordinator for the city, said the 250-by-420-foot soccer field is the standard size for a safe city park.

The playing area is 70 yards by 120 yards, she said. There would also be two 20-foot-wide sideline areas and a 30-foot-wide border behind each of the goals for safety, she said.

The neighborhood association has retained an attorney, but Lowrance said she is hopeful a lawsuit can be avoided.

“I don’t think we’ll have to (sue),” said Lowrance. “I feel we are going to be able to work it out.”

After the meeting Tuesday, Hettie Williams, a member of the neighborhood association, said the number of scheduled soccer games – and not the size of the field – is the issue.

Lowrance said only one game should be allowed at the park at once.

Like Lowrance, Williams also said the proposed park has too many activities. The planned parking lot is for 104 vehicles, she said, yet the picnic area alone can handle as many as 100 people.

“We absolutely do not want more parking,” Williams said.

City Councilwoman DeVere Mautino said after the meeting Tuesday she does not know what will be done next. “I’m hoping we can get there in my lifetime,” Mautino said, referring to the future park.

In another matter, the council unanimously approved the city’s updated design guidelines that spell out what the city ought to look like. The guidelines become effective immediately.

Also, the council approved an ordinance prohibiting the use of burn barrels within city limits. The ban becomes effective March 28.

The next meeting on the Mulcahy Field proposal has not been scheduled. Anyone wishing to be notified of the meeting should write the City Clerk, City Hall, 125 E. Main, St., Grass Valley 95945. Those who have already written comments to the city will automatically receive a notice letter.

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