The city’s next park will most likely shut down when the sun goes down to keep man and mountain lion apart.
The Planning Commission reviewed this week the environmental studies for Reata Park and Event Center, formerly and awkwardly known as the East Open Space/Lemon Grove off Ortega Highway at the east end of town.
The park is designed for mostly passive use, with trails for bikes, hikers and horses to pass through.
But they’re not the only ones likely to stroll on by.
Among the recommendations to make sure the project doesn’t harm the environment is to close down at sundown because the area serves as a migratory pathway for wildlife, including mountain lions.
“The first time staff and I went to visit the site we saw a deer that appeared to be a victim of predation – appeared to have been dragged,” said Ed Almanza, the city’s environmental consultant.
“The (nearby) creek is identified as a sensitive resource … significant in several respects, it includes habitats for sensitive resources, and we have a long list of species,” he added.
Commissioner Sheldon Cohen said he wants the public to enjoy the park to the fullest extent possible, as soon as possible.
“I was concerned about the park closing at dusk, but we have to balance the safety over the use of the park,” he said after hearing about the probability of mountain lions passing by.
Commissioner Gene Ratcliffe agreed.
“One incident would be one too many,” she said.