Congratulations all, because of the suggestions offered by CORE supporters and other residents following our last blog post, the City Council heard your voices & unanimously voted to expand dune hours, allow walk-up reservation with a permit & allow seniors to enjoy the dune without reservations. These changes, while modest, go well beyond what was recommended by Park staff. In addition, a group of neighbors & dune users will form a committee to explore adding more hours. Both the Daily Breeze & the Easy Reader both have stories with some more background & detail.
The near immediate benefits are the addition of the following hours:
- 12:30-1:30 Monday-Friday
- Saturday 12:30-1:30, 3:00-4:00 & 4:30-5:30
The already decided short term improvements:
- Walk-up use for seniors– it’s unclear if this is during all open hours or just during the fixed time slots.
- Walk-up use for up to 50 people that purchase or otherwise obtain a monthly pass. The cost of the permit and procedures for using it have not been announced yet.
Finally, probable medium term changes after community meetings & staff implementation:
- Addition of early time slots in the morning
- Sunday time slots
- Walk-up reservations for all, enabled by staff using wireless technology. Hey, if tech savvy folks can help staff with this & demonstrate it to staff & council, we can make this happen sooner rather than later.
- Fencing options will be determined
There were some ideas that were not supported, but with continued community support and more thoughtful emails to city council & staff, we can continue to improve dune access & achieve these long term goals:
- Extended hours in the evening
- Allowing children & adults to play & exercise on the dune after dark, as we have done for 40 years
- Have the city remove the fence
- Removing the dune divisions, opening the entire dune to all and letting young children climb w/ their parents to the top of the dune together
What has been a big part of the success of the CORE campaign has been the positive engagement of so many dune users, led by the example of partner-in-crime Bill Hory. From the outset, Bill’s philosophy has been to understand the issue from all sides and work through the City Council process, even if it seemed slow at times. The benefits of this approach have not always been immediately visible, but they were on full display this week. By building a broad coalition, CORE members were able to send dozens of emails to the city on short notice, undoubtedly steering the expansion of dune access well beyond that recommended by staff. It wasn’t only CORE supporters of course. Some dune neighbors emailed and even spoke at the city council meeting encouraging staff to add more hours. It’s hard to overstate how crucial that support was. So thanks to all CORE supporters and dune neighbors that contacted City Council to advocate for expanded access.