A revitalized Parks Committee is beginning to tackle many long-deferred opportunities, problems and issues concerning Bol and Briones Parks. A subcommittee has been meeting periodically since November to develop lists of desired shrubs, flowers and grasses to augment the trees already planned for revegetation of the bikepath after completion of the flood control project construction phase. This sub-committee is now being chaired and expanded by Jill Beckett, who will be leading the effort to create a two-mile-long demonstration garden of California native plants. If you would like to be involved, you can reach Jill at 494-6922 or 493-5192.
Maintenance of Bol Park is a problem. Doug Graham conducted a walk-through in January with responsible City Parks Department employees. Problems that were identified include the mudholes in the Laguna Avenue parking strip, poor drainage and mud (year-round) in the walks along Laguna Avenue and Matadero Creek, swampy areas in the irrigated turf, broken or misdirected sprinkler heads, splinters on benches, the swamp at the water fountain, beat-up trash barrels, vehicle damage to lawn areas, ivy in trees, grafitti, trash and numerous small problems. Many of these can be readily taken care of in the normal course of Park Department activities; others will require budgeting for construction. The Parks committee needs to have several people to help keep track of these problems and work with the City to reach solutions. If you can help, call Doug at 493-0689.
Briones Park has some problems as well, although fewer, because it has, on the whole, been better maintained. There are proposals to place public sculpture in Briones Park. The BPA would like to "adopt" Briones under the "Adopt-a-Park "program. In order to do this, we need to assemble a small group of people to be responsible for watching over the park and reporting and following up on problems. Again, if you can help, call Doug.
The BPA is beginning to prepare a proposal for a permanent gazebo in Bol Park, to serve as a focal point and stage for public gatherings as well as a daily picnic and seating spot. A subcommittee under the chairman-ship of Ken Arutunian has been formed to design, obtain permits and approvals, and construct the gazebo, with City help. We arranged to save the heavy timbers from the 1906 railroad bridge across Matadero Creek, which should serve nicely as a solid sub-floor. The superstructure will be minimal, light and open with an open lath-type roof with fastenings for a temporary tentcloth canopy for events. Ken will handle the design and a licensed general contractor, Kirk Welton, has volunteered to push it through the permit and approval process and supervise the construction. At least some of the construction will be performed by Barron Park volunteers to keep the costs down. Location is yet to be determined; at least four sites are under consideration. We need help on this job - if you are interested, contact Ken at 493-5987 or Paul Edwards at 493-2921. This subcommittee is also going to finish some improvements on the kiosk and relocate it (rotate it ninety degrees to the street). At the next meeting, the Parks Committee will consider additional playground equipment for Bol Park.
Also under the purview of the Parks Committee is the creation of a group to be responsible for Mickey and future donkeys, as well as facilitating the transfer of Mickey's pasture to the park. See stories elsewhere in this issue.
Another subcommittee has been set up to coordinate with the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the City of Palo Alto for a gala celebration in Bol Park this summer, upon completion of construction on the flood project. The bikepath will be rededicated and the donkey pasture formally dedicated to Josina Bol's memory. This effort is being headed up by Paul Edwards, who can be reached at 493-2921.
Other park issues include the "bee tree bench" to go in the mini-park at the Matadero Avenue pumphouse, and two possible new parks in our immediate vicinity. There has never been such an exciting time to get involved with park matters since the original park design and construction in the early 1970s. We welcome any and all members of the community who want to get in on the ground floor of these efforts and influence the future of our community in very real ways. Please come to the next Committee meeting and sign up for a subcommittee!