Archive for April, 2014

Going Native Garden Tour visitors enjoy our parks

Well, all in all, April 27th was a successful day. We had a total of 39 guests. They seemed to really enjoy all of the plants on our Native Plant Mounds.  Thanks to all those Martin-Fontana Parks Association members volunteers who donated their Saturday to greet & sign in visitors.  Thanks also to those who presented our two islands of native plants & answered any questions they may have had.   Besides the Native Plant mounds other areas of interest were pointed out on the display map and directions provided.


MFPA members & friends enjoy Picnic in the Park Day April 26th


Almaden Girl Scouts fight City Hall

Per the ABVnews edition dated 3-31-2014 , produced by Robert Braunstein: 

Three Girl Scouts from Almaden are taking on City Hall over a proposed housing development on a hill. The proposed 10 homes are part of a new planned community on the hill at Coleman and Almaden Expressway. The entrance to the tract is on 5827 Brasilia Way, near where the three girls live. The hill is famous to Almaden residents who drive by everyday. It once had sheep grazing along the hillside in view of drivers along Almaden Expressway.


The 12 and 13 year old girls are working to save this pristine area as part of their Silver Award. The girls have started a petition drive and after one week have 140 signatures from people who also want the hill preserved. The goal is one thousand signatures.

The details of the plan get complicated. The builder JSM Enterprises now owns the land. In the past one home has been on the land, for more homes to be built the city would have to rezone the property for multiple dwellings. This current plan calls for ten homes. You can see details of the project here

The Girl Scouts are not happy with the project for many reasons. According to Lia, “I would love this land to stay the same because it is one of the few spots of wilderness still preserved in our city today”.

Hallie says, “I love how there are so many beautiful native oak trees and animals. There was already a tree branch chopped down, and a hawk that lived in it now just sits on a telephone pole. It makes me really sad to see that”.

This is the first foray into city government for the girls. “I have never been involved in city government before.” said Hallie. “I think that this is a really good experience because I’m learning how to fight for what I want, and defend others for what they prefer.”

“If the zoning changed it would deprive the neighbors of their peace and destroy all the natural beauty of this hill.” Said Lia. “Plus it would corrupt the neighborhood lifestyle but also the animals inhabited on the hill.”

There have been two community hearings on the project so far. The deadline for complaints to the city is today. After that the proposal will go to the planning commission, and then to City Council for a vote on changing the zoning for the lot to allow ten homes.

Residents say they would be fine with one home on the land as it is zoned now. But according to Hallie, having ten homes would “wipe out all of the trees and animal habitats.”

The Girl Scouts learned about San Jose’s tree shortage while earning their Trees Legacy Badge. They say the big problem is large, mature trees are being replaced with smaller trees that don’t come close to providing the same benefits.

The girls say they started the petition drive to let more people know about the housing project. They also want the City Council to know how they feel.
If you would like to sign the petition click here.

For an additional story published in the San Jose Mercury News click here.

Memorial Rose Garden Workday a Success!

Thanks to the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors, (SCCAOR), the Jeffrey Fontana Memorial Rose Garden is ready for Spring.  Also adding their assistance were the  Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS), Martin-Fontana Parks Association members, and other volunteers.


Check out all these hard workers!

Doesn’t that Rose Garden look great. It is a pleasure to work with the SCCAOR group. What enthusiasm, work ethic, dedication and expertise. This group did a beautiful job on the rose garden and completed all within an hour and a half! Thanks too to their families, many of which participated in the workday! It demonstrates yet again the spirit of cooperation and community within the Almaden Valley and shows what can be done if this effort is focused on a quality-of-life project. Peoples spirits will necessarily be raised by the sight of amber, red and white roses as they travel McAbee. We thank the SCCAOR.

Also, I would like to acknowledge Linda Wilson and the folks on the executive committee of MFPA for making all of this possible through their leadership and organization. This group spends several hours a month developing and implementing plans to beautify to the two parks: T.J. Martin and J. Fontana. Also, thank to those regulars that show-up on almost every workday. Chris, Sunny, Pat, Patricia, Pier, Linda, Mike and Dick….. thanks for your contributions to this specific effort.

For an additional story in the San Jose Mercury News about the workday click here.

p. pizzo

Results of 2013 Fall Survey

Last fall, Martin-Fontana Parks Association (MFPA) sent electronic surveys to MFPA members by email, and to the NextDoor neighborhood sites surrounding the parks. Seventy-eight were returned and tallied showing the following priorities for TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Parks.Survey Results 2014
Top priority was protecting trees by trimming them, removing dead and dying trees and replacing them. This aligns with the MFPA mission statement. We continue to monitor and work with PG&E and have introduced a tree trimming program with the Parks Dept.
Next on the list was addressing the turf problems caused by rodents and the aging irrigation system. Sprinkler heads are constantly clogged from rodent digging and valve wires being chewed. The irrigation system is 30 to 40 years old and many of the main valves need replacing. This combination leads to a dangerous turf surface for park users.
The parks’ rodent control program for the last few years has consisted of trapping and removing rodents. This inefficient program will not eradicate the population, which must be done before turf refurbishment can begin. MFPA has met with City Park managers to explore the alternatives to rodent control and push for a better solution. Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS) is currently testing other methods in other parks that may be implemented this year.
Also in the top set of priorities was continuing to plant and mulch barren dirt areas. To support more planting and reduce the amount of time to hand water plants, we are exploring irrigation options.  Listed below are the Projects for 2014.

2014 Enhancement and Maintenance Projects

  • Continue tree trimming program with City
  • Clear out brush and volunteer trees in TJ
  • Continue lobbying City to improve rodent control
  • Lobby City for turf refurbishment plan
  • Native plant groupings near Heritage Trees
  • Extend irrigation lines for native plant groupings
  • Refurbish TJ wooden park benches Phase II
  • Native plants in Golf Creek dirt areas
  • Guadalupe Oak Grove Enhancement Lobbying
  • Install wooden fence for Island C in Fontana
  • Maintain Fontana Memorial Garden