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The Farm Neighborhood Park and Community Center


Location: Northwest corner of Soquel Drive and Cunnison Lane, about 1 mile west of Park Avenue


Program Manager: Sheryl Bailey


Final Conceptual Park Master Plan


Background and History: Up until the early 1990s, "The Farm" was the name of a restaurant, bakery and gift shop, with flower and vegetable gardens, and catered outdoor weddings and receptions, sited amidst landscaped grounds.


In 1990, a proposal to develop "The Farm" and adjacent vacant land into apartments, 33 single family residences, and a child day-care center was submitted to the County for permits. As this area of Soquel is under- served by parks and community facilities and as affordable housing is also needed, Agency staff worked with the developers to develop an alternative plan to better meet the needs of the community. This alternative plan included the development of The Farm Apartments, a 39- unit affordable housing development (see The Farm Apartment), the creation of 6 single-family residential lots with the remainder of the property on Cunnison Lane and at the end of Tee Street becoming the site for a community center and neighborhood park. In 1991, the Board of Supervisors approved this plan and the Agency purchased approximately 5 1/2 acres for the future development of a community center and neighborhood park. Construction of The Farm apartments and the single- family residences has since been completed.


Funding for the development of a community center and neighborhood park was secured, and the Redevelopment Agency in conjunction with the County Parks Department prepared a Conceptual Park Master Plan.  This plan was approved by the County Parks Commission and the Board of Supervisors in September and November of 2006.


Prior to approval of the Park Master Plan, the Redevelopment Agency and the Parks Department hosted a series of four community meetings:


10/26/05 First Community Meeting - Staff presented a brief overview of the history, the opportunities and constraints and potential park uses for which the property was suitable. The community was asked to consider the park uses with the following Park Master Plan Guiding Goal to provide a new community center and neighborhood park in a setting which respects the rural character of the property, the natural features and neighborhood setting.  The remainder of the meeting was dedicated to receiving comments and opinions from the community as to how the property should be used as a future park. These opinions varied widely and ranged from a desire for the property be left virtually unimproved with just walking paths to a desire to create a large skate park similar in size to Scotts Valley’s Skate Park.


1/18/06 Second Community Meeting - Staff prepared a "Hands-On" Workshop to help the community create a shared vision of the future potential park uses. Approximately 100 community members participated in round-table discussions to develop their own park plan utilizing "cut-outs" and a site plan provided by staff.  The attendees separated into thirteen groups, and each group was asked to try and achieve consensus regarding their choices of park features and uses. At the end of the workshop each group had the opportunity to present its plan to the larger group. Thirteen conceptual plans were created by the community.


4/5/06 Third Community Meeting- Staff presented two conceptual draft plans (A and B) which synthesized and blended the most common and recurring themes, features, and designs as depicted on the thirteen plans developed by the community. The community attendees openly reviewed and discussed both of the conceptual plans and decided in favor of Plan A with some additional suggestions regarding the placement of a number of features. The suggestions included relocating the restroom on the Tee Street side, the community garden, a dog park, some picnic tables, and some other uses farther away from the riparian area. This last request was due to a concern about potential fire hazards associated with the riparian corridor. 


5/3/06 Fourth Meeting - Staff revised the preferred Plan A based on the comments received at the last meeting and presented the revised plan at an "Open House." The Open House gave the community an opportunity to review this Draft Conceptual Park Master Plan. This plan was well received by those in attendance at the Open House.

The Board of Supervisors approved the Master Plan at a public hearing on November 21, 2006, and directed staff to proceed with pursuing preliminary design plans necessary for environmental review and development permits for the community center and park improvements.  To review this plan, click on the following link:  Final Conceptual Park Master Plan

The Master Plan includes a two-story community center, 3/4 miles of meandering pathways, a skate feature, 1/2 basketball court, children's play structures, a bocce ball court, nature interpretive signage, a pedestrian bridge, a dog enclosure, community and heritage gardens, oak woodland habitat restoration, turf and picnic areas, landscaping, a restroom, and parking areas.


On March 11, 2008, the Redevelopment Agency's Board of Directors approved a design contract for the Farm Neighborhood Park and Community Center with the firm of Moore Iacofano Goltsman, Inc. (MIG) and its team of sub-consultants, which include Thacher & Thompson Architects, Mesiti-Miller Engineers of Santa Cruz, and other environmental consulting firms.

Environmental consulting firms have evaluated the condition of the intermittent stream and determined that it is feasible to restore the riparian corridor to its native oak-woodland habitat. Staff and the MIG team have worked closely together to develop preliminary schematic plans consistent with the Conceptual Park Master Plan.


Follow-up Community Meeting:   On June 3rd, 2009, the preliminary schematic plans were shared and were well-received at a community meeting attended by approximately 50 members of the community. Click the following link to view the 06/03/09 PowerPoint presentation

The Redevelopment Agency and the consultant team have resolved issues discussed at the meeting, including the location of the restroom, and the addition of a bocce ball lane and two disc golf baskets.

Project Status:  Plans have been submitted for a development permit. Construction is anticipated to begin in Spring 2012, and to take approximately one year to complete.