Archive for the ‘TJ Martin Park’ Category

Our March 2019 Newsletter has arrived. Check it out!

Just click the link below for the complete newsletter:

Click to access 2019-march-4-pg-newsletter.pdf

PRNS Deputy Director reveals new plan for our Parks at MFPA General Meeting

President Rod Carpenter called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm last Wednesday, Feb. 13, addressing an overflow audience of members and guests.

Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services Deputy Director, Justin Long, summarized some of the changes that are being made to improve the efficiency of park maintenance.  A new “Activate San Jose” plan will be the new parks’ guiding document and should be in available to the public in June for community review.  MFPA will alert our members when it is presented.

Mr. Long and Dan Greeley, our Maintenance District Supervisor, spoke about the rodent problem affecting many San Jose parks, including ours.  They outlined the action that PRNS will be taking to alleviate the problem, and then answered questions from the floor.

Outgoing President, Rod Carpenter highlighted the achievements of MFPA during his two-year tenure:

  • Completion of the native plant Five Islands Project
  • Construction of the “Surf Shack” tool shed
  • Repair of the Meridian fence at TJ Martin Park
  • The Planting of over fifty new trees in both parks
  • Completion of the “Beautility” Water Vault Painting project
  • Partnership with PRNS Adopt-a-Park Program and Santa Clara County Association of Realtors, (SCCAOR), to maintain existing projects like the Jeffrey Fontana Memorial Rose Garden

Perhaps the most significant achievement of Rod’s term was the completion of the “Right of Entry” agreement with PRNS allowing MFPA to hire qualified contractors to work in the parks on MFPA projects!

Outgoing Secretary, Rich Grialou was honored with the “President’s Award” and received a plaque in appreciation of his contributions to MFPA.

President Rod Carpenter was presented with a plaque honoring his dedication and determination to oversee the accomplishments of the last two years.

The new Board of Directors goals for the next year include:

  • Ongoing maintenance projects with PRNS Adopt-a-Park and SCCAOR
  • The annual Heart of the Park Celebration on May 18, 2019
  • Continued collaboration with PRNS and the City to improve our parks

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.

“BEAUTILITY” – The Art in our two Parks has been completed.

Now it’s time for you to come out and take the tour:

The folks who made it all happen.  Thanks so much for adding more beauty to our two parks.

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With all this rain the fish are jumping!

Thanks to Artist Andrew Kong Knight (http://andrewkongknight.com/),

we have this beautiful fish pond in the middle of TJ Martin Park.

Come check it out and bring your fishing pole.

Celebrating Beautility

Councilmember Johnny Khamis

has announced in his Nov. 2018 newsletter the following :

 

“Join us on Saturday, December 8th, at 8:30 AM, for an early morning celebration of the completion of the Beautility water vault painting project – a project to beautify local utility infrastructure in TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Parks.

There are twelve concrete block structures, called water vaults, throughout both parks, stretching from Almaden Expressway to Coleman Road. The Martin-Fontana Parks Association (MFPA) was interested in having murals painted on them to make them a more beautiful part of the park, instead of the boring concrete ‘blocks’ that they are. My team and I looked carefully through the District 10 Parks budget and found that there was funding available in the line item for Park Art. We proposed the idea to Michael Ogilvie, Director of Public Art for the City’s Office of Cultural Affairs, who was immediately excited about the project. He worked closely with our partners at the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), the owners of the vaults, to get all the permissions and permitting required, and posted a Request for Proposal, seeking artists to paint the murals. A Review Panel was convened, which included community members, and six artists were selected, each given two vaults to paint. A grant was provided by the Water District to cover the cost of permitting, and the project moved forward.

Working out all the details and moving parts took many months, and we are excited to finally be able to celebrate the completion of this beautification effort. We are grateful to Michael for all the work he did to make this possible and those he partnered with here at the City, the Water District, and the MFPA to bring this special project to fruition. He found some amazing artists who have all done a fantastic job!

For the celebration on December 8th, we will be meeting near the dog park on Golden Oak Way at 8:30 AM. Several of the vaults are visible nearby, and a map will be provided to show the locations of all the vaults, along with the names of the artists. Guests are encouraged to walk through the park to view these lovely works of art.

This event will happen rain or shine. Canopies will be available should we be blessed with rain. Coffee and donuts will also be available.”

Painting completed on two more water vaults

A water vault are in the process of being painted by artist Daniel Aguilera Jimenez:

Artist Daniel Aguilera Jimenez puts the finishing touches on his art work.

 

No more ugly drab concrete bunkers in our two parks.

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…

 

We are eight years old!

Here’s Valli Sharpe-Geisler with a letter from the California Secretary of State office indicating that we were  officially approved as a Non-Profit Corporation as of 10 August 2010!

If you were wondering what were some of the things we were doing back in 2010, here’s a tree rally we held for TJ Martin & Jeffrey Fontana Parks.  Here’s the video .

 

We were also out protesting in front of PG&E Headquarters in San Jose and during PG&E’s removal of 13 trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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