Archive for November, 2014

Gathering Input on the Use and Future of

gogp_park_ sign2

Guadalupe Oak Grove Park is in Almaden Valley between the Villas of Almaden, the Jeffrey Fontana Park, and the Campton Chase. It is about 64 acres of undeveloped hillsides, oak savanna, and oak woodland laced with hiking/walking trails. When the park first opened it was classified as a regional park, and, due to budget cutbacks, was changed to neighborhood park status and transferred to Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services (PRNS).

When opened in 1987, the park, being an open savannah, was characteristically open–one could see through the park. The openness of the park encouraged the growth of grasses, flowers, and new oak seedlings. As time marches on, the openness of the park is being lost–the park is evolving into an oak woodland. One cannot now see through the park which raises safety issues. Wildflowers that were abundant in the park are now scarce.

Soon, a partnership between the City and the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority will jointly serve the needs of the park. The purpose of this survey is to solicit your opinion as to the future direction for the GOGP with the main issue, to preserve the park as an open Valley and Oak Savannah or to let it naturally evolve and integrate with plants and trees within the surrounding urban landscape.

It is important to understand the issue of the park’s future. To help you understand the issue, several walk-throughs with a docent are scheduled.

* Sunday November 23, 2014 beginning at 10 AM and 2 PM
* Saturday December 6, 2014 beginning at 10 AM and 2 PM

These walk-throughs will commence near the park’s restroom, and are expected to take about an hour or more depending upon the depth of questions and discussions. It is recommended that you participate in one of the walk-throughs and/or read the document accessible by clicking on the link titled ‘An overview of the park’ below. There are also several other documents available that provide additional background information for the interested person.

* An overview of the park
* The park’s 1987 Master Plan Report
* A condensed version of the park’s 1987 Master Plan Report
* A list of bird species that have been seen in the park
* UTD Vascular Plant List

The management of the Guadalupe Oak Grove Neighborhood Park is currently under the stewardship of PRNS, as are the two parks, T.J.Martin and J. Fontana. The City recently partnered with the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (SCCOSA) to jointly maintain/manage the Alum Rock Park on the east-side of San Jose. Because the GOGP is a remnant of the county untouched by development, discussions will soon take place to consider joint stewardship of GOGP by the City and SCCOSA.

Users of the GOGP know the park to be a unique island of old Oaks and chaparral, a natural oak island surrounded by urban development. Because of this, there are two options regarding park management. One option is to preserve the Park as it is, a Valley and Blue Oak savannah in a sea of grassland. The second option is to let the park naturally transition to an oak woodland, as influenced by the surrounding urban landscape. There is no right or wrong answer; however, the decision will guide the maintenance and stewardship plan to be implemented by the City and the SCCOSA. The walking trails and the current uses of the park will be retained as is.

After gaining an understanding of the issue in play, please participate in the *SURVEY*. The cut-off date for the survey is midnight on December 31st, 2014. Your participation is very much appreciated.

Note: This activity is being conducted by park volunteers with the backing of the Martin-Fontana Parks Association. The results of the survey will be presented to Council District 10 prior to the opening of discussion between the SCCOSA and the City of San Jose. Organizers of this effort include Organizers of this effort include Patrick P. Pizzo (SCV-CNPS affiliation, MFPA), Dave Poeschel (Sierra Club affiliation, MFPA), and Lee Pauser (Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society affiliation, Friends of the Almaden Meadows Park).

It was Park Clean-Up time again at Guadalupe Oak Grove Park


On Saturday, November 8th at Guadalupe Oak Grove Park, invasive weeds were removed and bushes were pruned. Growth on the walking trails was also trimmed. The park is on Thorntree Drive, near Sterling Oaks Drive (off Almaden Expressway and McAbee).  It also served as a convenient way for high school students to earn Community Service hours.  Water and snacks were provided to all volunteers by the Office of Councilmember Johnny Khamis.

Thanks to all those hard-working volunteers!

Jeffrey Fontana Park now has its own Zoo!

About four month’s ago, I was at the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS) Corporation Yard on McAbee, east of the Almaden Expressway. I am a member of the non-profit group, Martin-Fontana Parks Association (MFPA), and I was there to inquire about an irrigation issue. As I was talking to the park administrators, I noticed that a camel was looking at me through the back window of the trailer and I asked ‘who’s camel is that?’. Turns out there were two camels outside; and one elephant! They are concrete animals that kids pet and climb. They had come from the Almaden Lake Park where they entertained generations of kids (my grandson rode that camel!). Now, they were damaged and their future was uncertain. I immediately envisioned those animals repaired, painted and in place in the tot lots at Jeffrey Fontana Park. But how to go about this?

A Life Scout from Boy Scout Troop 262 of San Jose, Roy Blume, stepped forward. Roy is a senior at Pioneer High School on Blossom Hill Road. Roy was looking for an Eagle Scout Project and, for Roy, this project had great appeal. He drafted a proposal, it was approved by his troop and MFPA; and the rest is history.

From left to right are  Andrew Young, Max Bi, Ryan Daly, Connor Daly, Wesley Brook and kneeling in front Roy Blume.

From left to right are
Andrew Young, Max Bi, Ryan Daly, Connor Daly, Wesley Brook and kneeling in front Roy Blume.

Roy was fortunate to find, on the internet, a local concrete and statue repair company: MC Construction Services, Inc. of Livermore, CA. Roy found that the President of the company, R. Mark McCarter, was a former Boy Scout and, when contacted, expressed keen interest in supporting this Eagle project! It turns out that there is two-part, epoxy systems and adhesives that make the repair of damaged concrete as strong or stronger than the original product. Thanks to Mr. McCarter, this part of the project was set in motion.

Next Roy needed to decide on a specific location in the park for the camel and the elephant (the second camel is destined for another SJ Park). After this decision was made the gears of the City needed to put in motion. This proved to be an easy step. Thanks to Peggy Rudd, Mollie Tobias of PRNS; and Tache Ludwig, Shoko, Mat Spina and Diviel Guerrero of the Capital Infrastructure Team, the move to, and placement in, the tot lots at Fontana Park moved at warp speed! The camel-repair crew was having a hard time keeping up with the folks from PRNS.

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Once the repair and the surface preparation of the two animals was completed, Roy involved his fellow scouts (and their parents) in the painting and protective-coating of the gray elephant and camel-colored camel. That work was completed Sunday, November 8. The project was funded by the fund-raising efforts of Roy and Boy Scout Troop 262 , with matching funds coming from MFPA.

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The safety cages were removed and park visitors can now resume their interactions with these wonderful creatures. The project was originally targeted for completion by November 15, 2014. How is that for on-time and within budget!

We tell this story in detail because it shows you how things can be done as a team to benefit our parks and widen the experience of park users. In this instance, an Eagle Scout project, with the mentoring and financial support of MFPA, got things organized. Roy and the scouts from Troop 262, with the efficient help of PRNS of the City of San Jose and the Capital Infrastructure Team, made things happen. Without the help of Mark McCarter of MC Construction Services, this project would have never gotten underway. There are more opportunities out there folks. All it takes is coming up with an idea, putting the ducks in order, and getting things done!

Patrick Pizzo

Pat Pizzo         And a special thanks to Patrick for seeing this project through from start to finish.  We need more members like Patrick who keep our parks beautiful.  Why not become a MFPA member today?  Just click on our membership/sponsership button at the top of the page for information.  We need your support.

Mike Will has provided us with  a very brief history on where these cement animals came from:  History.  If you are wondering just how much these animals cost, see this link.

We have proof that Climate change is real!

Look what wandered in to the Tot Lot at Jeffrey Fontana Park.

Maybe our park is turning into a desert?


Elephant 2And now we have a baby elephant?!