boardwalk

A boardwalk that crosses a wetland area is a feature of the Cosumnes CSD’s proposed nature park.

Local parks provider, the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) envisions a “nature park” for an open space lot behind the district’s Elk Grove Boulevard headquarters.

This 2.5-acre project could include a wetland preserve, a community garden, a children’s play area, and a 5,700-square foot Nature Center for classrooms and community meetings.

The nature park would also neighbor Jessie Baker School, the Project R.I.D.E. Arena, and Elk Grove Montessori School.  

“It is extremely exciting to see the conceptual plan that incorporates the already existing natural elements of the site,” CSD General Manager Joshua Green told the Citizen.  

The CSD staff unveiled the project’s conceptual designs during an online presentation on May 28. This project site currently has a small grove of oak trees and thick grass. The CSD gained ownership of that property from Sacramento County during a 2018 land swap that had the district trade its Dillard Ranch property in Wilton with the county.

Project designer Kevin Perry of the Urban Rain Design firm emphasized the project’s “green infrastructure” that could use landscaping to capture and manage rainwater from a nearby parking lot.

“(This project) offers a unique opportunity to repurpose our urban environment in a way that allows for a natural capture of stormwater runoff,” he said.

Perry displayed illustrations of proposed ideas such as a boardwalk for visitors to use while they observe a wetland area, and a children’s play area that encourages them to interact with their surroundings. Other elements under consideration are drought-tolerant, California native plants and pollinator plants that attract bees and birds.

Perry noted that he was impressed by the vegetation that already exists at the project site.

“(There are) literally dozens of mature trees and existing wetland,” he said, adding that the trees could be used to help designers create the nature park’s pathways.

Perry mentioned there are few spots for pedestrians to walk along the stretch of Williamson Drive that leads to the CSD administration building’s parking lot. He said that the nature park project could remedy issues for that road.

The nature park project is currently in its early stage and a cost estimate has not been determined yet. Paul Mewton, the CSD’s chief of planning, design, and construction, said that the CSD staff is seeking funds such as grants for the project. The project’s conceptual design plan was funded by a Great Urban Parks Campaign grant from the National Recreation and Park Association. Mewton told the Citizen that Perry and the Local Government Commission informed the CSD staff about that grant and how it can fund a conceptual plan for the nature park.

During the project’s May 28 presentation, Mewton noted that the process of planning, gathering community feedback, and building Elk Grove’s nature park could take two years to complete.

Community members can take an online survey about what they desire to see in the nature park by visiting the CSD’s website, www.YourCSD.com.