NIPOMO, Calif. - Nipomo residents have a chance to help guide the future of parks in the South County town.
On Tuesday, San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation Department is holding a public workshop to to help determine park needs in the Nipomo Area.
"There's a lot of needs down here and we need the county to understand that,” said Jeff Long. “There are things here in the (Nipomo Community) park that need to be taken care of and get onto the forefront of what's needed."
Long is the executive director of Nipomo Recreation Association. He said the number one priority of the organization is to try and bring basketball courts to the community.
He pointed out there are only two public basketball hoops in all of Nipomo. The rest are on school properties, which are closed when school is out.
"We have one (court), but it's not measured properly,” said Long. "You can't even say it's a basketball court because there's just two backboards with rims hanging on a fence. There's no lines, there's nothing there."
The two basketball hoops are located in Nipomo Community Park, inside the tennis court area.
"There's no 3-point line, there's no free throw line, there's no sideline, no baseline, there's nothing here,” said Long.
Long pointed out there is a great need for a true basketball area.
Nipomo Recreation has about 35 youth basketball teams that includes more than 300 players. He said finding practice times for everyone is virtually impossible.
He is crossing his fingers the County will hear their concerns and bring much-needed basketball courts to the community.
"I hope that they are actually here to listen to what we want and that they're going to take that back to the drawing board and actually do what we ask them to do,” said Long.
According to Shaun Cooper, senior county planner, there is about $500,000 to spend on Nipomo-area parks.
Cooper said funds can be directed to Nipomo Community Park, Dana Adobe Cultural Center and the still-under-development Jack Ready Imagination Park.
Previously, the County engaged in county-wide research to determine what recreational needs residents felt were most important.
Now, greater public input in being sought in Nipomo to determine specific needs within the South County community.
Pickleball player Jerry Thomason said he was planning on attending the workshop Tuesday night. Thomason, along with other members of the Nipomo Pickleball Association, are hoping a permanent facility can be built for the growing sport.
Right now, players use temporary nets inside the tennis facility, which added pickleball courts about two years ago.
"If we had a permanent facility, this would enhance many more people to come,” said Thomason. "People who want to give it a try, if you had permanent courts up there, they could go up, try it out a little bit."
Other Nipomo residents believe the park needs better trails for walking and hiking.
"That would be awesome and the other side that's more rural and open space, make a little easier to negotiate, that would awesome,” said Rebecca Brown, who said she walks in the park at least five times a week.
Once the Parks and Recreation is able to gather input, it will later develop plans for future development. There's no timetable yet on when the community might see park improvements.
"I think they need to disperse it around to different groups. It's hard to please everybody, but you can please a majority by giving every group a little bit,” Long said. "I think it will very pleasing to most of the people here in Nipomo."