Positive Budget News

Park Advocates efforts paid off this year as the City Council approved this 2017-18 budget.  Nine new “boots on the ground” positions were added to the maintenance division. With new hiring procedures led by Park staff, the backlog of 41 vacancies is disappearing quickly.  It’s not clear how the new positions will be allocated–staff memos to council emphasized poor park conditions data driving the need for additional staff. The Friends of the Rosegarden revealed in July that their garden is getting one of these new positions full-time.  This was surprising since this park is in pretty good shape, receives extra staffing as a regional park and the Mayor turned down a budget request in June for additional Rosegarden staffing. Park Director Angel Rios declined to provide a written statement about how the department will allocate these new maintenance positions.  Continuing concerns about equity of resource distribution are amplified. The Greenprint Steering Committee made extensive suggestions in their second meeting on how to improve the park conditions report and how to take into account the usage levels some parks receive.  All parks deserve to be safe and clean–not just famous parks. 

Soccer Fields–will they ever be built?

Plans for a Guadalupe Gardens soccer complex appear to be on hold.  Because the site is an airport safety zone, Caltrans Airport Division issued a letter of opposition last spring which was announced at an Airport Commission meeting. Work on the first steps of an EIR has stopped. No public status report has gone to council.

The alternate site on Coleman Ave is still available, but the favorable construction bid has expired and

Parks Department does not have enough money to build it with remaining bond money.

The Memoranda of Understanding with the Quakes included making good any shortfall if the Guadalupe Gardens site fell through. Park staff says negotiations are underway and a memo to council will come out this fall. The Guadalupe proposal included Avaya Stadium parking and practice fields for the Quakes.The Park Bond was approved in 2000.

Yes, it makes a difference…

Last June, a volunteer complained that going to meetings didn’t matter and refused to ask others to come to a final budget meeting. At that final meeting, some passionate supporters of another program made a last-ditch plea for funding–they won $150,000 which came partially from taking away a position from Parks.  Yes, it makes a difference whether Parks Advocates go to council budget meetings.  On any given Tuesday, the council gives and the council takes away.

Wow! Emma Prusch Farm Partnerships

A recent trip to Prusch Park revealed many public-private partnerships. Veggielution runs a farm and teaches healthy nutrition. The UC Master Gardeners have fruit orchards. The Rare Fruit society has a tree collection. 4-H has youth programs. Horseback riding is offered; it’s wildly popular.  There’s a preschool that involves the children with farm animals and plants. The Friendship Forest has collection of trees that celebrate international sister cities. The Prusch Foundation helps fund the park.  There’s lots going on.  Here’s a link to the Master Gardener’s page about Prusch. http://mgsantaclara.ucanr.edu/demonstration-gardens/emma-prusch-farm-park-gardens/

Upcoming event: Bio-Blitz in Overfelt Gardens

Join us for a free, family oriented nature exploration event in Overfelt Gardens Park – children ages 4 and up are welcome. Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society staff and volunteers will show you how to use a smart phone app (iNaturalist). Enjoy birds, flowers, butterflies, more. Co-sponsored by Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco, San Jose Parks Advocates and Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society.