Frequently Asked Questions:

I’ve lived in my current home for years and I am still waiting for my park. Why is a newer subdivision getting their park before me?
Parks are built in two ways: 1) as a City project, or 2) by the Developer on behalf of the City.  Early on, before streets are constructed and school sites are identified, the home developer has a choice to build the park on behalf of the City or to allow the City to build the park. If the City builds the park, we follow a set of criteria that helps establish priorities across the city.  

This includes consideration of:
1)      Location (does this area have access to a park nearby?)
2)      Absorption (Are 75% of the homes the park is to serve occupied?) and available development funding (Have we collected sufficient funds to build the park?)
3)      Long term maintenance funding (Is this a general fund impact? If so, can the City afford to add this to the general fund obligation?)  If the Developer elects to build the park, they do so up-front. This is where you will see some parks built much sooner than others.  Either way, park development funds are collected through new home sales.

What’s the difference between a city-wide and neighborhood park?
City-wide parks are larger sites, off of major roads and designed for a visitor stay of two or more hours. You will generally see large ball field complexes and specialized park features which will attract people to drive to the park from around the region or city. These park amenities can also be lighted facilities with restrooms. Mahany Park, Maidu Regional Park and the south side of Hughes Park are examples. Other city-wide parks include Harry Crabb Park, Stoneridge Park Site 2, 3 and 4 , a park site off of Gibson and Roseville Parkway, and Fiddyment Park. The city-wide park fund provides for the development of these types of parks and everyone buying a new home in the city contributes to the development fund through new homes sales.  The health of the city-wide park fund is dependent upon the health of the economy. Because of the type of improvements included in the city-wide park plans, these parks are built in phases.

Neighborhood parks are generally less than 10 acres in size or less, are surrounded by homes and are designed for the casual park user staying one hour or less. Grass areas are multi-use and intended for either practice games or informal activities. Play areas, picnic facilities and other low key features are considered in a neighborhood park design. Because these parks are located within a half to one mile radius to homes and the stay at the park is short, restrooms are not typically provided. Examples of neighborhood parks include Misty Wood Park, Cambria Park, Woodbridge Park, Erven Park and Summerhill Park. The neighborhood park fund provides for the development of a series of these types of parks located within a specific plan area.  Neighborhood park funds from one area cannot be used to build a park in another area.

For more answers to frequently asked questions, click here.

Planning our parks from start to finish is approximately a two year process. Typically it takes a year for design and preparation of the “blue prints” and a year for construction and plant establishment. Depending on the project and issues related to it, these timelines will vary. Why is this process so long?  Below is an outline of the various steps and timeline taken in planning a park.

Park planning process diagram
(Click image to enlarge)

The Planning Process

Step 1 Public Workshops: The City takes pride in being able to work closely with the neighborhoods that will use the parks. The start of the design process begins with a public workshop to introduce the proposed park design and obtain input from residents. After the plan is revised, a second workshop is held to present the master plan for review. Final revisions are made based on the input gathered at the workshop. The final master plan is then published and written comments to the final master plan are accepted during the public comment period.
Step 2

Master Plan Approval and Environmental Review: From here, the Parks and Recreation Commission reviews and hopefully approves the master plan. They then forward the plan to the City Council who reviews the master plan with an accompanying environmental document for final adoption. All construction projects, by law, require environmental clearance. This is to ensure that the surrounding environment is protected and potential impacts are identified and lessened. The timing between Commission approval and Council review can vary depending on the type of environmental clearance required for the park design. Both the Commission and City Council meetings are public meetings. Anyone is welcome to attend and provide comments.

Step 3 Design Development: Once the City Council has approved the master plan, design development plans are prepared. Depending on the complexity of site specific issues, the layout of the park and funding, this step can take up to 14 weeks.
Step 4 Citywide Plan Review: Before the park can be bid for construction, the Citywide plan review, approval and permits are required. This process takes approximately 8 weeks.
Step 5 Bid and Award of Contract: According to California law and the City charter, the City is required to bid all improvement projects over $15,000. The approved plans are bid. The review of the bids and award of the contract to the lowest responsible bidder is an action taken by the City Council.
Step 6 Construction: Upon City Council approval of the contract award, construction begins. Depending on the complexity of the design and the time of year, this construction period can take up to 20 weeks or more.
Step 7 Establishment: After construction is complete, the City requires a 30 to 90-calendar day establishment period. This is the most difficult time of the process. The grass is green, the play structure is completed and the fences are still up. The establishment period is a time when we are literally watching the grass grow. It takes time to "toughen up" the grass so that it can handle the heavy foot traffic we experience at our parks. Without this grow-in period, the maintenance of the new park would be extremely high. We start counting the establishment period days after the second mowing of the grass. This is required to ensure that we have a good healthy stand of grass before we begin the establishment period. The entire park or phase of work remains closed during this timeframe.  Because the entire project is under contract and obligations under the contract are not complete, the contractor remains responsible for the entire site. Opening certain improvements within the project is a liability issue for the contractor and therefor, must remained closed. We thank you for your patience during this time.
Step 8 Project Dedication and Opening: After the establishment period is complete, a dedication of the park occurs. This can be timed at the very end of the establishment period or a few months after the fences are taken down. The timing of the dedication is dependent upon whether the park is named after someone, their family members or other factors.

For more information or questions, please contact Park Development at (916) 772-PLAY (7529) option 1 or email [email protected]