Cypress Rec director delivers update on LARC Park community outreach

Cameron Harding, Director of Recreation and Community Services for the City of Cypress, provided the Cypress City Council with an update on the progress of community outreach for the so-called LARC Park project.

In 2018, the approximately nine acres of property at the southeast corner of Lexington and Cerritos Ave. was donated to the City by the owner of Los Alamitos Race Cource (LARC), hence the working name of the park. A formal, permanent name for the park will be selected at some point in the future as part of the development process.

Aerial view of the location of the promised park, should Measure A be approved on the June 5 ballot. Photo courtesy of the City of Cypress.
Aerial view of the location of the promised park. Photo courtesy of the City of Cypress.

Cypress City Council will consider a schematic design for the park this summer. Construction is expected to begin in early 2021, with the park opening by the end of that year. At this point, no design or features of the park have been finalized.

A number of Cypress residents took to the podium during oral communications to express their displeasure at some indication they had received (not from any members of City Staff) that the park would be exclusively dedicated to soccer fields – specifically catering to the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) or to LA Galaxy Youth Soccer, thus excluding other sports such as Friday Night Lights.

Director Harding specifically refuted that fear in a number of ways.

  • The design and layout of the park has not been finalized, including any types of sports fields (though the City does desire to bring additional fields to Cypress).
  • Neither AYSO nor LA Galaxy have any say in what the City of Cypress does with the park, nor would they get any special privileges in hypothetically booking time on the fields.
  • Director Harding indicated the City’s existing plan to make any playing fields multi-use, not catering to a single sport.

Several residents also showed concern that the fields would be locked up when not in use.

Councilmember Jon Peat stated that the sports fields at Oak Knoll Park are already locked outside of use; not only does it help protect the turf from excessive damage, it discourages poor behavior at the location after hours. He spoke anecdotally of cleaning up beer bottles, medical marijuana containers, and vomit from the dugouts at Oak Knoll before kids could play there on Saturday mornings.

Furthermore, only the sports fields themselves would be locked outside hours of operation; the rest of the park amenities (whatever they end up being) would remain open to the public.

One lingering question emerged as to the cost versus benefit for the use of artificial turf over natural turf. Director Harding indicated that natural turf endures an enormous amount of wear over the course of a year and requires potentially months of downtime annually, while artificial turf had a usable lifespan of ten or twelve years but could be played on year-round.

Councilmember Mariellen Yarc requested additional information on the turf options. City Manager Peter Grant agreed to have information prepared and arrange tours of different facilities so the Council could see the turfs first-hand.

Those with further questions about LARC Park are directed to contact Nick Mangkalakiri, Senior Civil Engineer, at 714-229-6729. Cypress Recreation and Community Services can by reached at [email protected].