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.

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