A cultural/performing arts facility topped the wish list of Chino residents who attended two meetings this week to provide input for an updated parks and facilities master plan for the city.
It has been more than 30 years since the city completed its last plan.
Using electronic voting clickers, approximately 25 people at the Chino Senior Center on Tuesday and about 20 at the Chaffey College Chino Community Center on Wednesday listed their community services priorities with PROS Consulting, the Indiana-based firm tasked with creating the plan.
As envisioned, the plan will include a park and facility inventory and assessment, a community needs survey regarding recreation facilities and programs, a capital improvement plan through buildout, an operations and maintenance plan, a financial strategy to bring the “wish list” to life, and a review and summary of city policy and General Plan updates.
The survey for Chino residents will be released online in late March or early April, said Neelay K. Bhatt, vice-president of the consulting firm, who led Wednesday’s meeting.
Mr. Bhatt said his firm plans to provide a comprehensive report on the plan at the end of the year.
The consulting firm is setting up a website – www.ChinoCreatesCommunity.com – where residents can access the survey, provide comments, get information about future meetings and view survey results. As of Thursday morning, the site was not yet active.
In addition to a cultural arts facility, people attending Wednesday’s meeting listed more playground equipment, a second skate park, bike trails, a dog park, facilities where arts could be created, more parking at city parks, and nature trails as priorities.
“We need to inject the ‘wow’ factor in all city facilities,” said Chino resident and city “watchdog” Stubbie Barr. He also suggested an area where residents could ride off-road sports bicycles.
Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa, who was among several city officials in attendance, said she prefers facilities and parks that allow for multiple uses. Chino Community Services Commissioner Linda Takeuchi agreed. “That’s where we get the most bang for our tax dollar,” she said.
Chino Planning Commissioner Kevin Cisneroz said he’d like to see more art in local parks, including works by Chino residents.
Throughout the evening, the audience, which included several Chino Community Theatre supporters, kept coming back to a need for a larger performing arts center.
Chino currently has the small Seventh Street Theatre, which opened its doors on Seventh Street, between D and C streets in spring 1991 in the former telephone company building. Chino Community Theatre and Chino Community Children’s Theatre actors use the facility for plays, as well as acting and stagecraft classes.
A Chino Community Children’s Theatre supporter said the group has to limit the number of children who can be in plays, despite their high popularity, because of the limited space at the Seventh Street Theatre.
In 1976, the Chino Community Center Corporation – comprised of movers and shakers in town – formed to generate interest in and bring a cultural arts center to the city. Despite the group’s efforts, city officials have repeatedly said the project is too costly.
“We got so close last year,” City Councilman Tom Haughey said.