When completed, the 13.6-acre park site between Jan Drive and Salmaan Ave. will include walking trails, an adventure playground, family picnic sites, and a half-acre turf play area. Still, the goal is to retain the natural feel of the park site and its surroundings, which include Blue Oaks, Valley Oaks and Interior Live Oaks that are designated as Heritage Oaks by the Sacramento Tree Foundation.
“We’re going to be keeping it much like it is,” said Carmichael Recreation and Park District (CRPD) Administrator Jack Harrison. “That’s what the people really wanted, and that site really lends itself to a design that emphasizes its natural state.”
Picnic tables will be positioned strategically in the park to allow visitors to enjoy the shade from nearby oaks, and a series of walking trails, including one ADA-compliant trail, will transect the site.
Installing benches and picnic tables would be impossible without the help of the members of the Jan Drive Neighborhood Park Committee; Harrison said the organization plans to donate at least $25,000 for the park’s development. Residents living near the park site formed the group a few years ago with the goal of “preserving and maintaining Jan Drive Park’s unique character by maintaining it as natural open space,” according to the group’s website, www.savejanpark.com.
Committee members, Harrison said, also provided crucial input when the CRPD was debating Jan Park’s future. The district at one point considered selling part of the park site, intending to use land sale proceeds to fund development of a smaller version of Jan Park.
“The neighbors made it clear they wanted to keep the entire site, and we came up with a revised master plan that eliminated the land sale portion,” explained Harrison. “They stepped up and immediately starting raising quite a bit of money.”
The funds neighbors have raised ultimately will help put benches and picnic tables in the park, and the rest of the park’s development will be funded by a $410,000 grant the CRPD received from the state via Proposition 84, approved by voters in 2006. CRPD was the only local park district in California to receive Prop. 84 funds, Harrison noted.
“Fifty-eight local park and rec districts applied for Prop. 84 grants and we were the only park district in California to get funds,” he said. “The rest of the funds went to
cities and counties.”
Construction work at the site is scheduled over the summer, and due to the limited scope of development, Harrison said he expects the work to advance quickly; the park’s scheduled opening day is Saturday, Sept. 17. When it opens, Jan Park is expected to serve about 2,000 residents living within a half-mile radius of the site.