Thursday, September 29, 2005

Lagoon park may enjoy life afresh

Article Launched: 09/27/2005 06:59:25 AM

Lagoon park may enjoy life afresh
By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

Reeling in a Sacramento perch. Picnicking in the shadows of the Pena Adobe. Wading into a lake clear of domestic geese and aquatic algae.

All these things and many more could be a part of a resuscitated Lagoon Valley Park, according to a newly-released master plan for the park.

In the next several months, city officials will look at and approve a master plan for the 350-acre park in southwestern Vacaville. Don Schatzel, the city's director of community services, said city officials have been working with several consultants since 1998 to get a plan to improve the park and its lake.

After hiccups in the process, due to scheduling constraints and area development issues, the city looks ready to move forward on park development as progress on a 1,025-home development plotted just south of the lake continues.

Triad Communities is working with city planners to develop a final map for its project in Lower Lagoon Valley, which includes some commercial space as well as a championship-style golf course. A lawsuit filed against the city and Triad, designed to halt construction in the valley, is pending.

The master plan lays out what the park currently has in terms of facilities, natural resources, trails and activities. The plan also includes specific recommendations on how to improve the park, including the restructuring of the park entrance, the creation of a beach on the eastern shore of the lake and upgrades at the Pena Adobe.

The plan also suggests that domestic geese (referred to as "nuisance fowl" in the report) be pushed out of the lake area, possibly by trained dogs.

Lagoon Valley Lake's fish population is also discussed in the master plan, and references are made to the desirability of increasing the amount of the rare Sacramento perch in the water.

Cost estimates for the project are not yet available, Schatzel said, though he expects to present them at the next meeting of the Community Services Commission on Oct. 5. The commission, which met Monday to look over the plans and discuss the master planning process, is expected to recommend approval of the plan next week.

From there, the Vacaville Planning Commission and City Council would each get their cracks at it - Schatzel expects votes on the plan before the end of the year.
One piece of the puzzle, the lake management plan, was approved in 1999. That document deals with the environmental aspects of improving and maintaining Lagoon Valley Lake.

Schatzel said the park master plan leans heavily on that study.
"They're separate documents, but they certainly come together," Schatzel said.
The suggested phasing for the project will be released along with the cost estimates, Schatzel said. He said he anticipates the project being broken up into small, manageable pieces over a number of years.

Much of the funding is expected to come in the form of a multi-million dollar contribution from Triad and in development impact fees on the homes planned to be built in Lagoon Valley. Grants and special funding from city coffers may also be used.

Schatzel said city officials have indicated that the restoration and improvement of the Pena Adobe area will be a priority, but that most of the other upgrades will be accomplished as money is secured.

"So much of it depends on funding," he said. "I see this as a very long-term project."

Tom Hall can be reached at

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