In September 2019, Cosumnes Community Service District (CSD) asked the public to provide input on what they wanted for Morse Park. The organization finally revealed what their survey gathered, and hosted a meeting on October 29 for the public to view the results. Fred Bremerman is the project manager for Morse Park, and the presentation was given by Pat O’Toole and Kim Bailey of GreenPlay LLC.
Morse Park is a 27-acre recreational park that sits between Bellaterra Way and Fire Poppy Drive. It has a dog park, an outdoor running/walking trail, two baseball fields, a small skate area, playgrounds, an area to host events, basketball courts, and a large field for soccer games. However, on the western side of Morse Park lies 4 acres of unused land.
Fortunately, Cosumnes CSD is ready to turn this area into a recreation site for its residents and visitors.
Cosumnes CSD teamed up with GreenPlay to conduct a feasibility study on what the public wanted. They also wanted to be sure that the project would be financially sustainable for the city. One of the first steps was reaching out to the public. They were asked what they wanted in terms of programs, amenities, and facilities at Morse Park. GreenPlay examined a three-mile radius around Morse Park to see how many people lived in the area. The organization also looked at incomes and age groups.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the majority of people living in the area around Morse Park are families and seniors. Incomes ranged between $84,000 to $104,000 depending on where residents lived. Additionally, the biggest age group that live in the area are children, with 25 to 44 year olds coming in second. For CSD and GreenPlay, this meant that whatever recreational services were offered would have to cater to families with kids and seniors.
What The Public Wants
The public was very vocal about what they wanted for Morse Park. In terms of programs, this is what the public wanted:
- Arts & Crafts
- Adult and youth programs
- Civic gardening
- Drop-in gym
- Dance/fitness classes
- Martial arts classes
- Music & theater classes
- Net sports like tennis and badminton
- Programs for people with disabilities
In terms of amenities, this is what the public wanted:
- Catering kitchen
- Co-working space
- Drama-theater stage
- Fitness center/equipment
- Food/coffee cafe
- Playground (indoor)
- Indoor soccer field
- Indoor walking track
- Community hub
- Multi-use gymnasium
CSD and GreenPlay also wanted to make sure that the new facility would be inclusive, multi-generational, family-oriented, sustainable, and have a focus on health and fitness. Ideally, the organization wants to offer something for everyone, no matter their age group or gender or cultural background. When pooling the data together, GreenPlay found that certain activities and topics came up more often than others.
The top activities requested were youth sports, fitness & dance classes, adult sports, arts & crafts, and special events. Similarly, the top amenities requested were a fitness center and equipment, batting cages, a multi-purpose gym, a rock-climbing wall, and an indoor playground.
Likewise, in terms of customer service amenities, the public overwhelmingly supported wi-fi availability in the facility, along with spectator seating, a community hub, and some child-care services.
CSD and GreenPlay, however, do not have a map or a draft of what is coming to Morse Park yet. Now that the organizations have the results of these surveys, they will seek architects to plan out the facility.
Of course, those who attended the meeting also voiced their concerns. Notably, no one wanted a duplicate of a service that wasn’t needed. Conversely, Fred Bremerman stated that the only reason Morse Park would add a duplicate service or facility is if another location could not meet the demands of the public. Furthermore, there was support for an indoor walking track. Elk Grove experiences weather that is detrimental for walkers and runners. One resident commented that with Elk Grove’s hot summers and smoky air, many times it is a health hazard to go outside and exercise. An indoor track would keep citizens healthy without going outside when conditions are hazardous.
After the meeting, Fred Bremerman and I, as a representative of Elk Grove Tribune and a resident of Elk Grove, chatted about what we looked forward to and what we would like to see.
Based on what I heard at the meeting, it seems like CSD will be adding a facility that has some services that will be paid for. Also, Bremerman stated that it is likely Morse Park will get some sort of sports or fitness recreation facility. He is going off of what is based on the data so far. He is particularly excited about an indoor walking/running track. He says that Elk Grove lacks this feature and it is practical.
I thought it was interesting that a rock-climbing wall was proposed, and Bremerman states that the novelty of climbing a rock wall likely wears off once the course is completed. Additionally, specialized staff is needed to run such a facility, and if the course cannot be changed, the likelihood of people returning is low. In reality, installing a rock-climbing wall may not be financially sustainable for Morse Park.
The facility for Morse Park will not be completed anytime soon, unfortunately. CSD estimates that they will reach out to the public once more in March 2020 with a proposed draft and map of what might be built in the park. Depending on public input, construction may or may not start, potentially going through revisions.
Overall, CSD is going out of its way to ensure the public gets the services and features they want in Morse Park.
To view the results of the survey, click here: CCSD-Findings-DraftV5.