Friends of Santa Teresa Park Meeting, 5/7/09

  • Attendees: Mike Boulland, Ronald Horii, Kitty Monahan, Ed Jackson, Woody Collins, Sam Drake, Lynne Paulson, Mario Blaum, Holly Davis, Shirin Darbani. Visiting parks staff: Lisa Killough, Jim O'Connor, Jane Mark.
  • Shirin Darbani, from Council member Ash Kalra's office, brought emergency contact numbers and flyers on a community meeting this Saturday at Edenvale Library. She also brought flyers on dealing with feral pigs. She said San Jose Parks use non-chemical means to kill grubs in park lawns to discourage pigs. They can't use chemicals because of the danger to the red-legged frogs and other animals.
  • Shirin talked about San Jose's budget. The budget is still up in the air. The city has a budget deficit. The proposal is to eliminate the police mounted patrol and all 23 park rangers. The rangers handle the big regional parks, like Alum Rock. The budget came from council staff. They will go over the budget in Saturday's meeting. The budget proposal is online.
  • Park Planner Jane Mark talked about the Santa Teresa Historic Site Plan (Antoinette Romeo could not come). The Site Plan tries to tie together the interpretive themes of the Ohlone, Settlement, and Californio periods. The last public meeting was in 10/08. Based on the input, they worked with the consultants and came up with the revised plan. The potential future connection to the Norred Trail was included in the plan. It is contingent upon being able to cross the Coyote-Alamitos Canal, and there are environmental concerns, such as the serpentine areas on the hillside. The Norred Ranch is not part of the plan. It doesn't tie into the interpretive themes and is too far away. The site plan will go to the Board of Supervisors for project approval. The revised plan was presented to the Historic Heritage Commission. They are working on the environmental review. There will be a public meeting on environmental concerns. It may be held mid to late May. It will be presented to the Parks & Rec. Commission on June 3 to update them on the project and the environmental review. There will be a 30-day period for public comments. It will be presented to the Board of Supervisors in early summer.
  • Lisa Killough talked about the Pyzak House. Mothballing is the best option now. They need to look at what needs to be repaired. They are working on a county-wide unused structure inventory and will evaluate what to do. They have other projects that need work, such as the Grant House. They will do an historic structures report. They will look at what method of rehabilitation to use and will come up with a recipe to bring it back. The Pyzak House was not considered for use as a visitors center because of size limitations.
  • The Site Plan shows the relation of elements in the plan, but not the exact size or location. They will develop the details later. In the construction phase, they will do more surveys and will have construction plans.
  • The CEQA environmental review will address environmental impacts, as well as public safety issues and lighting.
  • There are zones in the parks where dogs and bikes are not permitted. Interpretive areas and playgrounds are off-limits to dogs.
  • They want to be able to staff the park. By having a plan, they can ask for grant money. The CEQA plan will be grant-ready.
  • South of Curie is in county jurisdiction. There will be a bus drop-off area and access along Curie. The neighbors have said they want Curie to stay rural. Widening Curie has safety implications, particularly students going to Bernal School.
  • On the second barn at the Bernal Ranch: The fiscal year 2010 begins on July 1. The parks department is recommending to the Board of Supervisors to fund restoration of the barn. They have completed the construction documents. It will go to the construction services people, who will contract the work out. It will take a couple of years. They will try to save as much of the "historic fabric" of the barn as possible. It will become part of the interpretive program. There will be live animals in it. It will also be used for storage and school programs.
  • Lisa Killough talked about the County Parks budget and the Mounted Ranger Unit: This is the worst budget year that Lisa has seen in 20 years. Projections of property taxes are at an all-time low. It has been re-analyzed 3 times. The projections are now negative and are the worst since Prop. 13. There is less money available, yet the parks department has more responsibilities, such as managing the zebra mussel threat in the reservoirs. They are inspecting boats, which is expensive. They also have to pay for the deputy sheriffs to provide patrol services. The parks department needs to make cutbacks. There are 4 unfunded ranger positions, which are now vacant. Those will not be filled, but no one will be laid off. Two of those positions were in the Mounted Ranger Unit. The Mounted Ranger Unit will be closed. It has been expensive to maintain. It takes a lot of time for training, travel, and mobilization to get places. It takes time to care for the horses and equipment. The rangers are not out in the field as much as they want to be. Two riders go out on patrol. They have provided goodwill at events. The rangers will be moved elsewhere. They will find good homes for the horses. The equipment will be kept, possibly to support the equestrian trail watch. It could be used in a future boarding facility. They don't want to see vandalism return to the Norred Ranch site. The site will be used to house a small construction project crew. They will store their equipment there. The camp host will stay. The project crews work at other parks. They are now at Central Yards. They will have more room at the Norred Ranch. In the peak of summer, they may start working at 6 am. They don't have heavy equipment. Rob Robinson is in charge of the project crew. He used to live in the Pyzak house. Once the Mounted Ranger Unit is closed, it will be hard to bring it back.
  • Boy Scout Tim Hambley from Troop 271 is looking for an Eagle project. He needs to complete it before Jun 14, when he turns 18. Jim O'Connor suggested making another slideshow poster like the ones at the Bernal Ranch. Replacing the fence along Heaton Moor is another possibility, but it takes a lot of work and expensive materials. Staff has to get involved. The interpretive marker posts on the Nature Trail at Santa Teresa, which was done as an Eagle Scout project in 1981, could use re-doing, as some of plants are no longer near the markers. It needs a new interpretive brochure. Holly said the Coyote Grange needs some Eagle Scout projects.
  • Treasurer's report by Mario Blaum: He needs to write 2 checks to re-imburse Mike, $15 for a UNSCC class, $20 to send a form to the state because of the change of officers. We voted and approved to let Mario write the checks. We got a donation of $76.95 from Mike for expenses.
  • Our 2009-2010 CAP Grant application for $500 was approved.
  • Kitty is having a wildflower scavenger hunt at Almaden Quicksilver on May 16.
  • We will have our picnic on July 12 at 1:00 at the Bernal Ranch. It will be a potluck. We got permission to have it. We need ideas for activities at the event. We'll do a plaque for the griststone. It is the oldest one in the Santa Clara Valley. We need to make another edition of the newsletter to pass out at the event. Some topics: pigs, trail maintenance.
Return to the Friends of Santa Teresa Park Home Page

Created 5/22/09 by Ronald Horii, secretary of the Friends of Santa Teresa Park