Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category

Antioch Council approves moratorium on non-medical marijuana, Prosserville Park playground improvements

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

By Nick Goodrich

The Antioch City Council met on Election Night, Tuesday, November 8th, for its regular meeting, and approved an interim moratorium on non-medical marijuana in the city, as well as improvements to the Prosserville Park playground.

Interim Non-Medical Marijuana Moratorium

With the expected passing of Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in California that night, Antioch was forced to reevaluate its take on the legality of non-medical marijuana, and take action to either reinforce its current stance or align with the state.

As an urgency ordinance it required four votes to pass. But, in a 5-0 unanimous vote, the Council stuck to its guns, choosing to approve of an interim moratorium on non-medical marijuana use in the city. The state ballot measure passed by 57-43%.

A Council decision in January of this year banned the cultivation of marijuana within city limits for any purposes, including for medical use. However, after Prop 64’s approval by voters, the state of California made it legal for individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use, beginning on November 9th. The sale and taxation of marijuana for recreational use was also legalized, but will not go into effect until January 1, 2018.

In the meantime, the Proposition allows for cities to regulate certain aspects of medical and non-medical marijuana, City Attorney Michael Vigilia reported.

“It really depends on which way the cities want to go,” he told Council, noting that surrounding cities like Pittsburg, Oakley, and Brentwood have enacted similar moratoriums to that approved by Antioch.

In Antioch’s case, the moratorium prohibits any commercial activity involving marijuana that the state could issue a license for, including outdoor cultivation for personal use and indoor cultivation for personal use that does not comply with state law.

According to the staff report on the agenda item, “the following commercial non-medical marijuana uses are prohibited by the moratorium: cultivation; manufacture; testing; retail; distribution/delivery; microbusiness; and any commercial marijuana activity that may be licensed by the state.”

However, the moratorium only lasts 45 days unless the Council has another voter to extend it. The ordinance reads, “This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon its adoption by not less than a four-fifths vote of the Antioch City Council but shall be of no further force and effect 45 days from its date of adoption unless the City Council, after notice and public hearing as provided under Government Code section 65858(a), (b) and adoption of the findings required by Government Code section 65858(c), subsequently extends this Ordinance.”

That will end in 2018, when Prop 64 goes into full effect, at which time Antioch growers will be free to cultivate the plants in their homes for recreational or medical purposes.

Prosserville Park Playground Improvements

The Council held an additional public hearing on the proposed playground improvement at Prosserville Park, and approved the plans in another 5-0 vote.

The resolution approved by the Council includes $50,000 to be directed to the project from the city’s Delta Fair fund, to help complete the purchase order with Oakland-based Miracle Play Systems, which will design and implement the plans.

The project cost, just north of $300,000, includes a $40,000 grant from Miracle, which is in the midst of conducting a statewide grant program to help fund improvements to California parks and play structures.

The $40,000 grant to Antioch was the largest of Miracle’s current grant cycle, city staff reported.

Members of the East County Regional Group (ECRG), funded by California’s “First Five” children’s health initiative, showed up Tuesday night to support the project and offer their voices to Council.

Nikita Crawford, Co-Chair of ECRG, said that families living near Prosserville Park are eagerly awaiting the improvements.

“The children that live by the park deserve a nice playground, not the old, unsafe one that is there now,” she said.

Crawford also noted that the idea of converting the tennis courts at Contra Loma Estates into basketball courts, which would not be possible until next year, would be good for the community as well.

“It’s what we want, and it’s what we’re interested in…it teaches good sportsmanship and teamwork, which helps you be successful later in life,” she said.

Antioch resident John Jones, Executive Director of the Contra Costa Childcare Council and a Chairman of the First Five Commission, also spoke to Council in support of the improvements.

In Jones’ opinion, parks bring more to the community than just a place to play.

Safe parks and playgrounds help children stay active and get outdoors in an age where videogames are becoming the norm, he said. They also provide a gathering place for the community, which inspires a more neighborly society and safer community for everyone.

“Having something local, safe, and clean is very important,” he concluded.

Other ECRG members spoke on the current status of the park, saying that it has become unsafe due to drug use and other illegal activity.

Better parks will help to revitalize the downtown community, they told Council, and give parents confidence that their children will have a safe place to play and have fun.

In the end, the Council wholeheartedly approved of the project, and granted the needed $50,000 to execute the purchasing agreement with Miracle Play Systems. They also directed city staff to look into funding for the Contra Loma Estates basketball courts conversion when that project becomes available.

Residents can expect the Prosservile Park improvements to begin next year.

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New, all-access playground to open at Antioch’s Prewett Park, Saturday, Nov. 5

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

all-access-playground-ribbon-cutting

Children and families are invited to attend the grand opening of the new all-access playground in Prewett Community Park on Saturday, November 5, 2016.  A ribbon-cutting and community celebration will begin at 11:00 a.m. followed by the opening of the playground. There will be refreshments and activities for kids throughout the morning.

The Prewett Park playground is the newest all-access playground in the City of Antioch park system. Funding was provided by the Antioch Mello Roos District funding.

Prewett Community Park is located at 4703 Lone Tree Way, Antioch CA; across the street from Deer Valley High School. The playground is located on the east side of the park.

For more information about the playground opening and the ribbon-cutting celebration call the Antioch Recreation Department at 925-776-3050.

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Park District purchases 76-acre property in Marsh Creek Watershed south of Antioch

Saturday, October 1st, 2016
A view of Mt. Diablo from the former Hanson Ranch property. photo by Scott Hein

A view of Mt. Diablo from the former Hanson Ranch property. photo by Scott Hein

Location map, courtesy of Save Mt. Diablo

Location map. courtesy of Save Mt. Diablo

Expands future Deer Valley Regional Preserve

The 76-acre Hanson Hills property on the eastern slopes of Mt. Diablo, will become part of the future Deer Valley Regional Preserve, extending the park’s southern boundary to Marsh Creek Road. The East Bay Regional Park District purchased the former ranch land, located south of Antioch and west of Brentwood, from Save Mount Diablo for $730,000, its appraised fair market value. East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy contributed $547,500 toward the cost and funds from Measure WW covered the remainder.

“This beautiful property will be a tremendous asset for generations of East Bay residents,” said Park District Board Member Diane Burgis, whose ward includes the Hanson Hills property. “It’s also a critical part of the Marsh Creek watershed. We’re thrilled to be able to protect this ecologically sensitive area forever.”

The property encompasses canyons and ridges covered with blue-oak forests and native grasslands, as well as a seasonal stream that drains to Marsh Creek. The ridgetops provide panoramic views of Mt. Diablo, the Marsh Creek corridor and Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. It’s also home to eagles, hawks, coyotes, mountain lions, deer, foxes and other species. The acquisition secures important land links that provide habitat for a number of special status species including the California red-legged frog and Alameda whipsnake.

Eastern view from the former Hanson Ranch property. photo by Scott Hein

Eastern view from the former Hanson Ranch property. photo by Scott Hein

The acquisition represents an important piece in long-term efforts to preserve land around Mount Diablo. Save Mount Diablo acquired the property from the Hanson Family in April, 2014. The Hanson children, now all in their 80’s, remember fishing for steelhead with their grandfather in Marsh Creek, just across the road, and camping out on warm nights atop the tallest hill. It was important to the family that the land they love so dearly be protected forever.

Ted Clement, executive director of Save Mount Diablo, spoke to the importance of partnerships in conserving land in the region.

“We are thrilled to help ensure the permanent protection of 76-acre Hanson Hills through our partnerships with the East Bay Regional Park District and the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy,” Clement said.  “With this transaction not only have we preserved essential wildlife habitat and ensured the protection of a strategic parcel that can later support outdoor public recreation and education, but we have also generated funds to protect more lands around Mount Diablo.”

“This acquisition is another positive step for conservation in east Contra Costa County,” said Pittsburg Councilman Salvatore Evola, chair of the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy board. “It is valuable to have a local land trust, the East Bay Regional Park District and the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy working together to conserve valuable landscapes for species while also providing park and recreation opportunities for the growing population.”

The land will remain closed to the public (“land banked”) until the Deer Valley Regional Park Land Use Plan is completed.

Save Mount Diablo is a non-profit 501(c)(3) conservation organization, which has been preserving lands on and around Mount Diablo and educating the public to the mountain’s natural values since 1971. Preserved lands have increased from 6,788 acres in one park to more than 110,000 acres in more than 40 parks and preserves. Save Mount Diablo continues to preserve, defend and restore the remainder of the mountain for people and wildlife to enjoy. Contact: Save Mount Diablo, telephone: (925) 947-3535, fax: (925) 947-0642, 1901 Olympic Blvd., Suite 320, Walnut Creek, CA 94596; www.SaveMountDiablo.org

The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 120,700 acres in 65 parks including over 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning. www.ebparks.org

For information, please contact East Bay Regional Park District public information supervisor Carolyn Jones at (510) 544-2217, cjones@ebparks.org.

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