Our View: Losing park would set bad precedentBy: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald editor
I’ve done a lot of exploring in my first three weeks at the Placer Herald. I’ve met members of the Rocklin Historical Society, I’ve listened to what the candidates have to say about the issues during a City Council candidates forum and I’ve even signed paperwork for an apartment here. I’m excited that soon my address will reflect the fact that I live in this great city.
As I’ve driven and walked around Rocklin the past few weeks, one thing has really jumped out at me. This city loves its parks. Residents can watch the trains go by at Old-Timers Park, or they can watch a soccer game or learn how to do t’ai chi at Night Ridge Park. I’ve seen parks with water features, plenty of parks with quality children’s play areas and, everywhere I drive, parks full of families enjoying nature.
The quality of the parks and the fact that they are consistently full shows me that Rocklinites care deeply about their parks.
That’s why I think that if the city decides to look into a developer request to convert part of Whitney Ranch Community Park into a single-family housing development, it would set a bad precedent. (A new deal for Whitney Ranch? Sept. 27).
According to the proposed amendments to the Whitney Ranch Development Agreement, which were discussed by the City Council Aug. 14, “Whitney Ranch has asked for council approval to submit an application for a single-family subdivision on the site. Accepting the application would allow staff to evaluate the feasibility of redirecting the land use on this site.”
The estimated $15 million community center planned for the property could be eliminated to shore up cash for the city to put in an interchange at Whitney Ranch Parkway at Highway 65. Granted, that’s important and necessary freeway access, the lack of which has put off developers looking at those 200 acres, according to the city. But should it come at the cost of park land? If the city approves the park giveaway, couldn’t it make it easier for park land to be sold off in the future?
The developer has not yet submitted an application for the change, but if and when they do the city should find other methods of getting the Whitney Ranch Parkway interchange completed without compromising community values.
Parks enhance property values and keep the community desirable in these tough times. Parks are an important part of what makes Rocklin the kind of community in which people love to live and raise their families.