Archive for the ‘City of San Jose’ Category

Park Advocates – Meet the new PRNS Director Monday Sept 24

Meet Jon Cicirelli,

Our new PRNS Interim Director

Join San Jose Parks Advocates to welcome and hear from Jon Cicirelli the new Interim Director of PRNS.  Jon replaces Angel Rios, who moved to the City Manager’s office. Jon will walk us through his 15+ years with the City and his ideas to help improve services. 

 

Jon comes from the Public Works Department where he served as the Assistant Director as well as the Director of the Animal Control Services.  Jon is considered a rock star in the Animal Control world. You can get a sense of his background if you listen to one of his podcasts or speeches online. Here’s a You Tube of a speech on contracting he gave in Queensland Australia in 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh0OwzvY5hY

Willow Glen Library Community Room
1157 Minnesota Avenue
7pm.

*The above information was listed on the Quarterly Meeting agenda received from San Jose Parks Advocates

Vault Painting has begun

Vault painting has begun with artist, Vanessa Stafford.

The vault is just east of the pedestrian bridge in Jeffrey Fontana Park

 

Below is a note from Michael Ogilvie, the City of San José Director of Public Art:

 

“Dear Review Panel,

Good news! I just heard word that the bulk of construction work on the interior of the vaults by the water district’s contractor has been completed. They have given us a notice to proceed with painting starting this Saturday, 8/25. Our conservator is scheduled to pressure wash and clean the vaults on August 23 and 24th.

All work by the artists must be scheduled with the water district and I am working to coordinate the artist’s schedules and align those with servicing needs of the district.

The deadline to complete this project was moved to November 30. So, the artists have three months to complete the work.

If you see an artist painting in your park, feel free to say hi!”

Thanks and talk soon,

Michael Ogilvie

City of San José
Director of Public Art

 

Click on the link below for more info:

San Jose artists sought to paint murals on park…

 

Gophers in TJ Martin & Jeffrey Fontana Parks

Below is MFPA Board Member Linda Wilson’s response to a concerned neighbor regarding the infestation of gophers in our parks.

I recently received your membership renewal and your note about the gophers.  This is a rather long and complicated problem.  Up to 2008 PRNS had full funding and ran an ongoing rodent removal program in all parks that were affected by gophers and squirrels, including TJ Martin and Fontana.  In 2008 the parks budget was slashed by 50% in maintenance due to the recession, and the rodent control program was cut accordingly.  They still hired an outside contractor to kill gophers in both parks using a poison that was inserted deep into the tunnels.  In 2010 the Federal government outlawed nearly all the poisons that had previously been effective in rodent control on public lands such as parks.  The contractor then had to change to trapping the gophers, taking them away alive from the parks and then he would freeze them to be used for owl food for the county’s barn owl population.

At this point, the gopher population in TJ Martin park exploded, first going into all the TJ Martin neighboring streets.  Now in TJ, homeowners from the park clear to Redmond Ave. have nearly all been impacted by gophers and have resorted to all kinds of remedies, but the park population continues to expand.  In Fontana, most of the rodent damage since 2008 had only been from the ground squirrels; the gophers did not appear in great numbers until they tunneled under Meridian into Fontana and spread eastward through the park.  Gophers are solitary tunnelers.  A gopher will only use another gopher’s tunnel if it has been long abandoned, so all gophers are always digging their own tunnels for their own use.  Once they have mated, they separate, and when the young are old enough they leave the mother to build their own tunnels and nests.

Last fall PRNS got permission from the state and feds to use carbon monoxide produced by small gas engines piped into the tunnels to kill the gophers by removing the oxygen in the tunnels. The machines cost about $2000, so MFPA got permission to train six volunteers and purchased one to use in conjunction with park staff.  Most of our volunteer work was done in TJ Martin soccer fields and in Fontana from Meridian as far as our first native plant island.  After the five island projects was begun in November, the Fontana volunteers worked only in the area directly in front of the five islands and around the five islands.  Eventually, volunteers dropped interest and only one person still tries to keep gophers out of the five islands.

I have asked all the volunteers about where they were working, and so far as we know, only PRNS ever worked from in front of the dog parks all the way down to Almaden Expressway.  We found, as did park staff, that the gophers and squirrels had been allowed to breed uncontrolled and overrun the parks beginning in 2008, so for ten years they have been multiplying and spreading throughout the parks and the surrounding neighborhoods for up to a mile and a half from the parks.  One of our members who lives two houses down from the Fontana on Ostenberg told us that last fall he had to completely remove his lawns, lay down gopher grid wire, then bring in top soil and replant.

Unfortunately, until the City receives enough complaints made to the City Council and the mayor, this problem will go on unabated.  Parks are last on the list to receive city funding by priority.  MFPA has attended city meetings, spoken to city representatives and pushed for funding for rodent control for the last six years with no meaningful results.  Since this March, we have only tried to keep the gophers out of the five island project using the Gopher X, the carbon monoxide method.  We live near TJ Martin and have battled gophers, and most of the Villas is overrun with gophers and squirrel damage.

I sympathize with you and what you have experienced, but with the burgeoning rodent population and no effective method to control it in a widespread manner, we have no answers.  I know this doesn’t make your situation any better, but I hope it helps you understand the magnitude of the rodent problem with which we are faced as park neighbors.  Until someone at City Hall finally gets the message, I don’t know how it will ever be addressed.

Sincerely,

Linda Wilson

Past President and Membership Chair, MFPA

 

What would you have us do with $44,000 to spend in our Jeffrey Fontana & TJ Martin parks

I’m Robert Braunstein, Vice President of the Martin-Fontana Parks Association.

We have just signed a groundbreaking Right of Entry agreement with the City of San Jose that allows us to work on certain projects using contractors we hire.  Our association has $44,000 to spend on these projects. My question to you is, what are the most important issues in the TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana parks right now that need to be addressed?  If there is an issue you feel particularly strongly about, let me know if you would like to join a project management group to work on a specific fix.

Please reply with your opinion at SaveOurParkTrees@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Robert hard at work refinishing the Tot Lot fence in Jeffrey Fontana Park.

When are they going to paint those ugly blocks of concrete you ask, well

Fontana West near Tot Lot

here’s the scoop:

Remember last June when we told you about this project?  Here’s the link:  https://martinfontanaparksassociation.blog/2017/06/15/you-can-help-turn-the-eyesores-in-our-parks-into-works-of-art/.  We met the Artists on Feb. 10th of this year at the Almaden Community Center.

MFPA President Rod Carpenter hands out pins to the Artists present at the community meeting.

And they are:

Here’s the schedule:

May 19th – Artist design proposals will be unveiled at Martin-Fontana Parks Association’s annual Heart of the Park VIII event held in Jeffrey Fontana Park.

June 5th – The Public Art Committee will meet to review and approve the designs.

June 6th to November 30th – The Artists will be painting their designs on the vaults.

December – A dedication will be held.

 

 

Please note: None of this would have been possible without the support of

District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis and the City of San Jose’s Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program.

 

District 10 Park Heroes

From left to right are Dave Poeschel, District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, Patrick Pizzo, and Lee Pauser

On Feb. 8th 2018, Dave, Patrick, and Lee were awarded the status of “Park Heroes” at the State of the City address.  An award that was surely well deserved.  Congratulations, guys; for all you do for our parks.  When you see these guys, make sure to give them a pat on the back and say “Thank You” for all their hard work.

Dave hard at work

Pat Pizzo

Lee Pauser with one of his many bird friends

55 trees planted in Jeffrey Fontana & TJ Martin parks

On December 16th & January 6th., Our City Forest (OCF) held “Planting Parties” and a total of 55 new trees were planted in our Jeffrey Fontana & TJ Martin parks. The new trees were planted in select locations and in areas where dead or dying trees needed to be replaced. The professional staff of Our City Forest managed the program and provided direction and tools.

From left to right are MFPA Vice-President Richard Zahner, MFPA President Rod Carpenter, District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, and OCF Planting Manager Rob Castaneda

These plantings were a major “once in a decade” opportunity and the Martin Fontana Parks Association Board of Directors wants to give a big “Thank You” to the OCF staff, MFPA members, and all the other volunteers who came out and helped make it a success.

This program was initiated by PG&E early in 2017 when they asked the MFPA Board to partner with them to find locations for new trees to replace the ones they were required to remove along Almaden Expressway.  A team of MFPA members created a ‘Planting Plan’ for consideration of the City Park Staff and PG&E.  The PG&E planting guidelines that limit the mature tree height for any trees under the lines were taken in to account during the negotiations. This avoids any possible contact with the lines and costly annual tree trimming.

Our plan was adopted in principle by PG&E and used in negotiations with the City and County. PG&E finished the removal of over 150 trees along Alamaden Expressway in late summer and then provided funding to OCF to plant replacements in our parks.  MFPA finalized the Planting Plan locations and the OCF Arborist coordinated tree selection with the City and PG&E.

From left to right are District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, MFPA Project Manager Dave Poeschel, OCF rep, Brian O’Neill, and two others.

The trees were of the 15-gallon size from the OCF nursery. The City will provide water for a three-year program to assure survival of these young trees and OCF will manage the watering. Our continuing responsibility will be to support the OCF watering and report problems, if and when they occur.

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We hope you, your children, and future neighbors, will enjoy all the new trees and a have an attractive parks for decades.