Archive for the ‘Park Maintenance’ Category

Don’t forget your MFPA is a tax-exempt organization

Our membership fees are only

$20 per individual or $35 per family per year

Martin-Fontana Parks Association needs your support.  2018 proved to be a milestone for our nonprofit group.  We finally have written agreements that will allow us to hire contractors using MFPA funds to complete those projects the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services cannot budget.  The Five Islands project was completed with the construction of a decomposed granite pathway.  MFPA invested $9,000 of your membership donations for this task. The last step will be the installation of informational signage about the native plants.  Currently, Larry Sasscer & Richard Grialou are working on repairing the fence along Meridian at TJ Martin Park,

and exploring the possibilities of replacing a section of turf near the dog park.  All 12 of the water vaults in TJ Martin & Jeffrey Fontana Parks have become works of art thanks to some great artists, District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, Michael Ogilvie, San Jose’s Director of Public Art for the Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD).

Our members’ support helped convince the City that our parks need better maintenance.  This has led to some new additions to the maintenance staff and more work being done in TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana parks. However, after years of cutbacks in the budget and manpower, park users and supporters will need to continue to advocate for better park services.

Lastly, we have continued our dialogue with PG&E regarding the preservation of our parks most precious resource; our trees.  In 2010 MFPA was formed to save the park trees from being removed by them.  Today we negotiate annually to protect our trees.  Your Membership affirms our community’s intent to PG&E that we are serious about them being respectful of these priceless resources.  So far we have been consistently successful getting them to agree to prune rather than remove these trees.

That’s why your membership is sorely needed. We hope you will take this opportunity to become a member by filling out a membership form and mailing it to us with your check or you may choose to use Pay Pal at our website:   https://martinfontanaparksassociation.blog/membership-3/.   Your renewal is valid for one year.  You may also choose to become a sponsor, with a family membership included in a sponsorship of $100 or more.  All membership and sponsorship donations are tax-deductible.   We are a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

With your support we will continue to advocate making our parks a better experience for all.  We value your membership and thank you for helping to make a difference in our neighborhood!  Please email us at SaveOurParkTrees@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns.

Another Art Box completed in Jeffrey Fontana Park

Thanks to Artist, Megan Stevens (http://www.meganstevens.com/), we have another beautiful addition to our park.

From this ugly block in front of Tree 13 to this beauty.

Our thanks to Michael Ogilvie, the City of San José Director of Public Art, Santa Clara County Water District & Councilmember, Johnny Khamis for making this project possible.

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

5 Islands pathway completed thanks to your donations & membership

Photo by Richard Grialou

 

The BrightView professional landscaping company has completed construction of a pathway in the 5 Islands project.  Five inches of earth were removed before putting in a rock base and decomposed granite.  The 5 Islands project is located east of the corner of Meridian and Golden Oak Way in Jeffrey Fontana Park.

The pathway is not primarily utilitarian. The combination and array of the islands, boulders, native plants, split-rail fence, and Ironwood tree, combined with the paths as illustrated below, form an integrated landscape feature. The purpose is to draw the eye of the park user to the array, see it as an ‘isolated’ destination, one to visit and contemplate. Although the walking paths do not encircle the islands, they will give you that impression.

For more info on the Islands:  https://martinfontanaparksassociation.blog/2018/06/19/have-you-been-to-the-islands-yet/

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…

 

Sheep Grazing in Guadalupe Oak Grove Park?

They are here. According to  Parks Facilities Supervisor, Dan Greeley, 400 Goats arrived this Wednesday morning at GOGP and they are hungry.

On Thursday, September 13th, you can stop by the park at 6:30 PM for a special Meet the Herder event!

Here is an ‘update’ posting from Dan Greeley, PRNS-City of San Jose:

A question came to Dan by Valley Water folks- “All, last year we utilized Star Creek Land Stewards and were very happy with their services. We intend to use them again next year in select locations [in their stewardship areas]”

Response from Dan-

PRNS is using Star Creek as well. We hope to confirm dates for next week [starting September 10th]. It is a challenge to schedule animals as they do not stick to a schedule that very. We were to have them last week but they were that hungry at the previous job. 😊

We are hoping to clear about 5 acres in the park and then follow this effort up with planting native acorns in the cleared area.

Dan Greeley | Parks Facilities Supervisor
Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services
Almaden Lake Regional Park

For more information regarding the Guadalupe Oak Grove Vegetation Management Plan:  https://www.sanjoseca.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Guadalupe-Oak-Grove-Park-41.  Ready to Volunteer? Questions? Please contact ParkVolunteer@sanjoseca.gov or call (408) 595-3483.

Grazing.pdf

 

 

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