This Wednesday the 3rd, the Preservation Commission will review and make recommendations to the City Parks & Recreation Department in support of their proposed improvement plan for Cesar Chavez Plaza. The plans effort is to increase its usability and provide an attractive and enjoyable place for the community while maintaining and respecting the park’s remaining significant historic features and characteristics.
The improvement plan includes: park name sign, raised planters at the four street corners’ entry points, stripe loading zone, visual access to park along “I” and “J” Streets, planter area with low water use and low maintenance plants along J Street, extension of the existing walkway from the Stevens Monument to the central plaza, replace the existing picnic tables in the park, replace portions of turf and planting areas along major walkways and in high-traffic and gathering areas with decomposed granite paving to better facilitate the Beer Garden and Farmer’s Market events and reduce maintenance.
Other park improvements include the relocation of the Cesar Chavez Monument from the stage toward the street along J Street facing City Hall on a four-foot pedestal, widen existing steps and walkway to the stage, replant existing planting area with Cesar Chavez Rose roses and low shrubs and ground covers to open and enhance visual access to the park and reinforce the visual axis from J Street to City Hall, while maintaining the park’s historic cross-axial walkways. Raise the existing stage by 18 inches, which also requires modification of the side access ramps to the stage and additional steps/stairs. Upgrade electrical power for concerts in the park, replace existing turf in front of the stage with turf that can take higher traffic, install classic styled steel strap benches, both with and without backs, but with center armrests, along the perimeter of the central great circle to provide seating for park and event users while leaving adequate room for Farmer’s Market tents, add solar-powered self compacting trash receptacles to reduce trash pick-up requirements in the park, top-dress existing decomposed granite paved areas throughout the park, install a shade structure for the Downtown Partnership’s information booth that matches the architecture of the Café Soleil structure including brick columns and roof style.
Existing funding is available to construct proposed park improvements from Quimby Act and Park Impact fees. Construction of the improvements is proposed to begin Winter, 2011, phased to reduce impacts to events held in the park, and proposed to be completed by Winter, 2012. No estimated costs have been released to the public.