About the Colony

Zoo upgrade ignores Lake Park’s overall design

In 2006, the city of Atascadero released its Atascadero Lake Park Design Guidelines. The work, commissioned by the city, was done by architect David C. Main and his daughter, Jessica Hamilton. They did a lot of work to research a design style that would be appropriate for the city’s lakeside park.

The idea, as expressed in the new design guidelines, was to encourage future development of facilities in the park that would help create a “visual identity that is unique and appropriate for Atascadero Lake Park.”

The design standards were to be applied to facades, structures, shelters, lighting, fencing, benches, trash cans, signs and more.The city’s consultants went over photographs on file with the Atascadero Historical Society and drove by a number of early structures in the Colony.

Eventually, the Arts and Crafts (Craftsman) style was selected by the parks and recreation commissioners as the architectural style for all future construction in the park. They felt — and rightly so — that the style would complement the Pavilion on the Lake.

The Craftsman style is characterized by low-pitched gable roof lines, exposed rafter tails, shiplap or shingle siding, and column treatments that include the application of river rock or similar stone.

I loved the whole idea and was delighted that the Craftsman style was developed for the park area.

Atascadero’s approximately 300 remaining Colony homes, many of which are in the Arts and Crafts style, are testimony of our early beginnings.

I was thrilled when the city’s new restroom up by the bandstand was built to reflect the historic look of Atascadero. The new snack bar complex at Alvord Field next to the lake is equally attractive.

Even the proposed roof addition for the bandstand submitted by Atascadero Kiwanis Club reflects the Craftsman style. In fact, the design done by Kiwanian Mark Dariz was approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission as being in compliance with these new standards.

I have always considered the Charles Paddock Zoo to be part of the park, but the new entrance now nearing completion doesn’t even come close to the city’s park design guidelines.

It’s a great design, if it were being built next door to the new Lowe’s in Paso Robles. It has kind of a farmer-in-the-dell feel, which has been adopted by that city, at least out along Highways 41 and 46.

I was surprised and equally disappointed that the Craftsman design standards weren’t applied to the new zoo entrance.It reaffirms my contention, uttered several months ago in this space, that “Atascadero” is a Spanish word that means “We don’t need no stinkin’ standards.”

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly four decades. His column appears here every week. He can be reached at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.