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The city of SLO needs more parks. You have a chance to help make that happen

Kids enjoy the new playground at Sinsheimer Park in SLO

A newly redesigned playground at Sinsheimer Park in San Luis Obispo features a large multi-slide, zipline, grassy hill for sledding and climbing wall. Aidan Burke gives his thoughts on the SLO playground.
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A newly redesigned playground at Sinsheimer Park in San Luis Obispo features a large multi-slide, zipline, grassy hill for sledding and climbing wall. Aidan Burke gives his thoughts on the SLO playground.

Congratulations to our North Broad Street neighbors on the City Council and staff support they are receiving toward building a new park in their neighborhood.

These residents have worked hard for many years to convince the council of their park needs.

Contrary to San Luis Obispo’s reputation as a mecca for outdoor recreational enthusiasts, I believe the city is still lacking in one regard — city parks.

The open space we have created around our city cannot be used to play baseball, basketball, soccer or anything else with a ball. It cannot be used to play Frisbee, enjoy a family picnic or walk your dog off-leash. We cannot hold special events or senior activities in our open spaces. If you do more than hike, bike or run you probably are already aware of the need for more space to recreate in this city. Even the new park planned in the Broad Street area would replace existing community gardens.

There are plans to create more parks along with the housing developments happening now and in the near future in San Luis Obispo. Unfortunately, these parks will be built in the final stages of these housing developments, some 15 to 30 years from now. I believe we need additional parks now.

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Do you live more than a mile from a park? Does your nearest park need some love? Would you like to see changes to our parks? Would you like to see more baseball diamonds or soccer fields? What other activities should new parks accommodate? How about temporary parks, rooftop parks or parkways? All these questions and more must to be answered by the residents of our community.

The city of San Luis Obispo is conducting an update of the Parks and Recreation Element and Master Plan. These are important documents that will guide city plans for and investment in parks for the next 20 to 30 years, especially important in light of our plans for increased density in San Luis Obispo.

You have the opportunity now and in the next few months to make your voice heard on your needs for parks. I encourage you to get involved, or at the very least, give your feedback during the update process. I believe it’s important for each of us to imagine what we want our parks to be now, and what we want for our children and grandchildren.

The city website encourages you to contact Shawna Scott, senior planner at sscott@slocity.org and/or attend the Bright Ideas Community Workshop on Sept. 13 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ludwick Community Center. Please do!

Jeff Whitener is a former member of the San Luis Obispo Parks & Recreation Commission.

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