It's always great to go out to community events! You can feel the vibrance of the place and the people in a way that celebrates both and boldly illustrates the importance of placemaking.
With typically broad cross-sections of attendees, a wide array of thoughts and ideas for any project can be gathered through pop-up style engagement at these functions. In recent weeks the Fairfield Parks, Recreation & Open Space (PROS) Master Plan team (City of Fairfield and WRT staff) participated in two such events: the MAYkers Market which brought local artisans and vendors together along a few blocks in Downtown Fairfield, and the Trucks of the Trade family event at the Solano County Fairfield Cordelia Library which showcased various professional vehicles (buses, firetrucks, police cars, etc.), and allowed youngsters to see them in-person and let their curiosity flow as they asked their drivers questions.
Pop Up Engagement Working Towards a Vision for Future Parks in Fairfield, CA (Reel)
Each event brought the Fairfield community together in these core spaces, and the team was able to gather abundant and valuable input on the thoughts and aspirations that the people of Fairfield have for their parks, open space and trail systems. There were three main categories for feedback – park improvements, activities + amenities, and improvements to trails & open spaces.
When it came to park improvements, the community’s suggestions included improved restroom facilities, the addition of water features, the installation of shade structures, more trees to provide natural shade, enhanced lighting for increased safety, and the creation of community gardens. Moreover, the prevailing sentiment emphasized the paramount importance of overall safety within the parks.
For activities and amenities, a desire for an enhanced aquatics program, upgraded playgrounds that cater to different age groups, a diverse range of community events to foster engagement, well-maintained sports courts and fields, and an array of activities tailored to the youth population were all expressed.
The improvement of trails and open spaces garnered significant attention as well. Community members voiced a strong interest in habitat restoration efforts to preserve the natural environment. They also vocalized the need for a well-connected trail system, educational initiatives to promote nature appreciation, easily recognizable wayfinding signs, and well-designed trailheads that offer a welcoming entry point for outdoor enthusiasts.
Looking ahead, Fairfield anticipates significant growth and transformation, with a projected influx of 25,000 to 30,000 new residents by 2050 (approximately 120,000 as of July 2022) and corresponding economic diversification. As a well-established and thriving suburban city, Fairfield boasts a comprehensive network of neighborhood and community parks. Its identity is shaped by its cherished natural surroundings, particularly the 1,360 acres of public open space and regional parkland that offer a sense of place and abundant recreational opportunities.
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The city is actively preparing for these changes, demonstrating a clear commitment to reinvestment, infill development, and a measured approach to outward expansion, as outlined in the ongoing General Plan Update. Building upon this groundwork and its underlying principles, the Parks and Open Space Master Plan will provide specific guidance. It will prioritize the delicate balance between open space access and resource conservation, while also fostering the creation of an interconnected trail and park network. Additionally, the plan will ensure equitable reinvestment in existing parks, cater to the recreation needs of a diverse and expanding population, and facilitate the development of memorable gathering spaces where the community can unite.