Posts Tagged ‘Martin-Fontana Parks Association’

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/

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

 

TJ Martin Tot Lot Bench Refinished

Thanks to Scout Nathan Bird and some help and guidance from MFPA member Larry Sasscer, the bench was refinished to look like new again.  The work on the bench should help Nathan achieve his Eagle Scout status.

Now it’s safe to sit & watch the kids play.  Thanks so much, guys.

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.

Have you been to the Islands yet?

Well you don’t have to go far.  Just drop by Jeffrey Fontana Park at the corner of Meridian Avenue and Oakglen Way and you will see our beautiful 5 Islands display of native plants.  Stroll around the Islands, find a plant you like, check the name on the plant ID signs, head to your nursery, and add one to your yard.  Mother Nature will thank you.

Almaden Valley Nursery has a wonderful island displaying some of the plants they have available for sale.

Check out East Bay Wilds‘ Island:

Then there’s DGDG‘s Island:

And don’t forget PG&E‘s Island:

And last but not least, is the Presidents’ Island, so named for the past MFPA Presidents who we want to thank for their generous donations to make this island possible:

In fact we want to thank all these generous organizations for their contributions of either Plants or Monetary donations.  We couldn’t do it without you.

 

Come on out.  The Islands await you.

 

In case you are wondering, here are our new Board of Directors

From left to right they are Treasurer Rich Zahner, Secretary Rich Grialou, Member at Large Mike Kalashian, Past President Linda Wilson, Vice President Robert Braunstein, President Rod Carpenter, Member at Large Pat Wagstaff, Director Rosy Bowring, Director Linda Opp, and Director Michelle Judd.

Here are Martin-Fontana Parks Association’s new Board of Directors as presented at the annual General Membership meeting that was held on the 28th of February at the Almaden Community Center.  We want to welcome our new Directors shown below:

From left to right are Director Michelle Judd, President Rod Carpenter, and Director Rosy Bowring.

Our previous 2017 Board was, from left to right, Pat Wagstaff (Recording Secretary), Greg Caillat (Director), Robert Braunstein (Director), Sunny Wagstaff (Director), Mike Kalashian (Treasurer), Rich Grialou (Director), Dick Stevens (PG&E Negotiations Chair but not a Board member), Linda Wilson (Past President), Rod Carpenter (President), and Linda Opp (Correspondence Secretary).  Not present was our new Vice President,Rich Zahner.

Receiving appreciation awards were Mike Kalashian, Pat Wagstaff, & Sunny Wagstaff