MAJOR PLAYGROUND IMPROVEMENT DESIGN APPROVED BY CITY COUNCIL
Exciting changes are in store for the Niven Park playground! The outdated structure will be removed and in its place will be lots of new play equipment, beautiful landscaping and hardscaping, art sculptures, a family picnic area and more!
An overview of the proposed playground improvements was presented to the Larkspur City Council at the November 2, 2022 meeting. At this regularly scheduled and noticed meeting, presentations were made by staff and the private Greenbrae family who so generously donated funding for the playground project. The Council unanimously approved the project plans and authorized staff to advertise the project for contractor bid solicitation.
For more information about the project, the following links to all the presentation material from the Nov 2nd meeting.
This significant influx of funds from the private donation greatly expanded the budget, making it possible for the playground area to be expanded, adding several new pieces of play equipment; a cozy family picnic area; a short perimeter safety fence; and lots unique landscaping, pathways, shade trees and visual elements. The theme is nature-based and discovery-zoned, with a mindfulness toward universal accessibility.
Interesting side note -- the stunning centerpiece of the playground will be the "Forest Hut" by Earthscape. Stately standing at 21-feet, its slender, slatted design is willowy and whimsical. You can see a smaller version of this structure at the new Presidio Tunnel Tops park in San Francisco.
PICNIC AREA UPGRADES COMPLETE (November 2022)
The picnic area across from the fire station on Drakes Landing Road has a whole new look with:
new tables, benches, bike racks and trash & recycle bins
concrete paving has replaced the the grass & dirt;
thirteen new shade trees have been planted (scarlet oaks, Chinese elms and crepe myrtles). The three trees inside the new paved area are protected with tree grates not only for safety but for added style;
a new drinking fountain which includes a doggie bowl and a water bottle filler.
PARK ENTRANCE REPLANTING COMPLETE (August 2022)
The landscaping of the park entrance planting area at Barry Way & Drakes Landing Road has been completed. The plant selections are drought tolerant, California-native species. They are colorful and pollinator-friendly! By next year, they will be close to fully mature and will beautifully welcome park users for years to come.
A new park sign is being fabricated and will be installed soon. Here is a preview of what it will look like. Thank you for your patience!
SCOPE OF WORK CULLED FROM COMMUNITY OUTREACH SURVEYS (October 2021)
Based on community input from the public survey conducted in August 2021, the areas of Niven Park that will be upgraded are:
Landscaping area at the park entrance
Picnic area on Drakes Landing Road
Playground - new equipment and small enlargement
Park-wide upgrades to lighting, benches, and drinking fountains
This project will use funding from:
County of Marin Park's Measure A program
Donation by private citizen (anonymous)
Donation by the Larkspur Community Foundation
State of California CalRecycle program
PROJECT BACKGROUND (July 2020)
Improvements for Niven Park were identified in the 2015 Mini-Parks Action Plan. Area of improvements included mandatory accessibility and safety code compliance upgrades needed as well as discretionary aesthetic and usability improvements.
In February 2020, City staff conducted two community meetings, inviting residents from the neighborhood adjacent to Niven Park as well as members of the general public.
Approximately 60 people attended the meetings. City staff encouraged a two-way discussion to solicit community feedback about what upgrades were and weren't desired at Niven Park.
The feedback from these in-person meetings formed the basis of a follow-up online survey, the results of which was used to develop the Preliminary Concept Design.
Public Outreach - Round 1
Two community meetings were held in February 2020 as information gathering sessions. Concepts and ideas were presented by City staff, then the public was given an opportunity to comment and provide feedback. In attendance were:
Residents from Cape Marin and Drakes Landing Circle invited via email and by postcards sent by USPS.
Park users invited by noticing posted throughout the park.
General public by notices posted at the three designated City community boards.
Public Outreach - Round 2
Based on the feedback from the community meetings held in February, City staff created an on-line survey and invitations to participate were sent to the same list from the first round of public outreach during April thru June 2020.
Staff posed a series of various park upgrade scenarios and asked survey takers to rank their desire to see these improvements made. The results were then used to develop a preliminary scope of work and design concept.
Questions? More info? Please contact the project manager, Rita Schoch, Larkspur Public Works, 415-927-5784, firstname.lastname@example.org.