October 13, 2016
Why Beaumont is finally getting its promised park
Work on Nicklaus Park has been on hold since 2008; drought concerns prompted changes to its design.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise
IF YOU GO
Event: Grand opening of Nicklaus Park
Location: 11270 Palmer Ave., Beaumont
Date: 9-noon Saturday
Activities: Face painting, balloons, dog costume parade and free Kona Ice for the first 200 people
Details: The nearly $2 million public park features a dog park, nine-hole disc golf course, basketball, handball and pickleball courts, two playgrounds, picnic areas and other amenities.
Jennifer Callahan wasn’t sure it would ever happen.
A Beaumont park that was on hold for years finally is becoming a reality.
Nicklaus Park, 22 acres between I-10 and the 60 on the northeast corner of Oak Valley Parkway and Palmer Avenue, is to open Saturday.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Callahan, a 42-year-old resident with two young kids who lives in The Fairways, a partially completed master-planned community that includes the park. “We’re excited to have a real big park with all the amenities.”
SunCal, the Irvine-based developer of community, is paying for the nearly $2 million park near the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon. The city will be responsible for maintenance at an anticipated cost of $200,000 a year.
The Fairways, which has two smaller parks and two more planned, was approved for up to 3,300 homes. About 1,230 homes have been built.
SunCal started construction on Nicklaus Park in 2008 but stopped later that year because of the recession. The company was ready to resume work in 2014, but the city held off because of drought concerns. Those concerns also prompted a change in the park’s design.
Original plans called for a baseball diamond, two soccer fields and three grassy areas. The City Council altered the concept after realizing that drought-induced watering restrictions would have made it impossible to keep the fields in proper shape, said Rebecca Deming, community development director.
The new design cuts back on grass in favor of drought-tolerant plants. The park lacks ballfields, though water lines have been installed in case officials want to add sprinklers later.
Amenities include a dog park, two playgrounds, six exercise stations, picnic areas, a nine-hole disc (Frisbee) golf course and basketball, handball and pickleball courts. Kids can enjoy climbing and riding equipment, swings and a merry-go-round.
“There’s something for everybody,” said Cherryl Thompson, senior project manager for Argent Management, SunCal’s managing arm. “Not every family is a soccer and baseball family. I think parks need to have more opportunities than just fields.”
Callahan, who moved to Beaumont in 2004 and to The Fairways in 2011, asked SunCal to add swings to the playground at the request of Tanner, her 10-year-old son.
She lives near a pocket park that she said is small and often crowded. Tanner will be able to play basketball and handball and ride his bike at Nicklaus Park, while Madelyn, Callahan’s 8-year-old daughter, will have fun on the jungle gym. Callahan looks forward to exercising on the walking path.
“It will bring our community together because they will have a place to mingle and hang out,” she said. “It will be a huge benefit to a lot of residents throughout Beaumont.”