Saturday morning’s community event at the Big Bear City Park was not a grand re-opening but, per Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District’s Reese Troublefield, “a kick-off for the renovation. We are here to celebrate huge improvements.” Recent improvements to the park off Greenway Drive include lawn and more trees and, soon, the addition of playground equipment (from Erwin Lake Park, as that park is getting new, ADA-approved equipment).
The September 19 event at the park was also a work party, as staff from both Rec & Park and Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry’s office were in attendance, paint rollers in hand, to upgrade the existing bathrooms on site. The other building, the caddyshack from the original golf course, has been bequeathed to the Big Bear Valley Historical Society and will, in coming weeks, make the move to the Historical Museum, which is on the northern-most parcel of the park. The parcel adjacent to the museum, on which the Lions clubhouse is situated, will be deeded to the Lions Club within this fiscal year, according to Supervisor Derry, who was in attendance at Saturday’s park event.
The current version of Big Bear City Park, on the southernmost parcel of what was once the entire park across the street from the airport, has been closed since 1984, when an airplane went down in what has since been established by the Federal Aviation Administration as within the RPZ, or runway protection zone; the Big Bear Airport had this year been in negotiations to purchase this land with FAA funds. A few members of the Rec & Park’s Advisory Commission had gone on the record, expressing their concern that the park would be reinstated, given the 1984 plane incident and subsequent closing of the park under another County Supervisor (which was not Dennis Hansberger, as he oversaw the Third District from 1972-1980, and again from 1996 to 2008); Advisory Commissioner Cassy Benson was among those vocal in expressing concern about the park’s safety, notable in that she was at the park in ’84 for her son’s little league game and saw the plane go down.
Supervisor Derry tells KBHR that the RPZ portion of the land, where there is cautionary signage yet no grass or facilities, will be low-impact and low-use, and will soon include a raised walking path to discourage sports in the middle section of what was once the Big Bear City Park. As reiterated by Troublefield in his opening remarks, “I want to be clear that you are not allowed in the RPZ. We’re not trying to encourage a soccer game or large crowds of people.”
As the Big Bear City Community Services District’s President John Day pointed out, “This is a little roadside park, and Neil [Derry] still says there will be a Paradise Park. There will be a Paradise Park.”
- Though Funds Are Not Currently Available, Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District and Big Bear City Community Services District Are Committed to Paradise Park’s Completion
- Youth Sports Leagues Making Use of New Soccer Fields at The Ranch; Big Bear City Park to Get Upgrades for September 19 Re-Opening
- San Bernardino County Tells the Airport District: The Former Big Bear City Park Is No Longer for Sale