San Lorenzo Park in King City (File Photo)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County officials are seeking community input for ways to possibly improve or enhance San Lorenzo Park with Prop 68 grant funding.

If successful in obtaining grant money, the county would see an award ranging from thousands to millions of dollars, such as the February award of $7.6 million to Soledad for construction of its Metz/Orchard city park.

The latest community input meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. over Zoom, but earlier meetings have shown the county’s intents and community ideas. 

Part of the determination criteria by the California Department of Parks and Recreation is not only inclusivity and serving otherwise underserved populations, but also community engagement in the planning process.

“The reason we’re having these meetings is to get your input in what’s important to the community and what’s important to the park,” said Gustavo Flores, operations manager for the county’s Resource Management Agency. “We’re doing our part to improve these areas. It’s either with this grant or the following ones, but we are being proactive in getting this park back to its former glory.”

Flores said county staff has also toured the park, located in King City, to see what could be improved and where new features could be built.

“Some of the ideas that we have right now are creating more features in the trail system, circuit trail, splash pad, making the park structures and the playground bigger with better play structures and renovating the picnic areas,” Flores said.

Flores noted prior public input was based on trails, as he said, “expanding the trail system and making it bigger and better,” as well as incorporating the De Anza trail.

New features were also in mind, since much of the park could use a restoration, especially trails and roadways, as community input suggested.

“We want to incorporate something into the park,” Flores said. “New attractions and new features for the community. Our ideas were in the park itself, going into a splash pad that could accommodate maybe 150 people.”

The location of such a splash pad might be where the current playground is on the east side near the front parking lot. Such a placement would mean the current playground would need to be relocated.

“It’s in close proximity to the barbecue areas, that we could also enhance,” Flores said.

In addition, a new restroom with showers could be installed near the area.

“We already have a theme at this park, which is rural ag,” Flores said. “So everything we want to incorporate is not to take away anything from our theme we have going on already. Water attractions could have a watermill or tractor, something of the nature to keep the theme going.”

Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum Executive Director Jessica Potts was one of the public attendees at the prior Nov. 21 input meeting. She spoke about a need to improve the camping area in the back of the park.

“We have really strong competition from Yanks RV park in Greenfield and we’ve noticed a drastic decrease in RVs coming here and utilizing our really great facility,” Potts said. “We just don’t have the ability to compete with them with their clubhouse, their Wi-Fi, their meeting areas.”

Flores said the county is considering an infrastructure update to the camping area.

Potts added that the older electrical systems at San Lorenzo are incompatible with newer RVs, and are part of the reason people choose not to stay in the park.

Karen Park, a board member for MCARLM, spoke from her experience as a jogger in the park. Though there is a Covid-19 alternative housing site located in the RV area currently, Park said hikers and joggers can still access the trails.

“The area is in dire need of road fixtures,” Park said. “I run back there and the road is very uneven.”

Park said prior potholes were fixed a year ago, but new potholes have formed and the patches themselves have given way to rough roadway.

“If I were going to pick a place to camp, I could prefer to have a campsite that is accessible without jolting my trailer around,” she said.

Community members in attendance of the Nov. 21 meeting broke into smaller groups to give input. One of the suggestions was resurfacing running and hiking trails with a harder surface, as many of them are currently dirt or sand. Tennis and basketball courts were another idea, as were sports fields in general.

Other ideas involved coordinating with King City itself, with ideas such as bike lanes with regular upkeep along San Antonio Drive that could lead into the park. The safety issue of large trees in the park was also brought up, as many trees have been cut down already.

More community input is sought at tonight’s meeting via Zoom here (meeting ID: 941 2684 5259; password: 399547).

“The idea is making the park better but not taking away from what it already has,” Flores said.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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