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April 27, 2004 > Comments on Possible Sale of Parklands

Comments on Possible Sale of Parklands

by Pauline McIvor

When I heard that the city was going to sell the Mission San Jose area parkland, I was really shocked because no one had said anything to the community. We were told that because it was undeveloped land, it would be put on the cityís disposable property list which really surprised me.

We werenít noticed for the study session. The city knows that the property owners group in Mission San Jose does not want to see this happen. We wanted to be consulted and yet it sounded as if this was a firm decision when we started hearing about it. Thatís how Save Our Parklands got started.

We understood that selling undeveloped parcels was sort of a new concept for the council and when we looked into it further, we found there are other undeveloped parcels in this city. If they start this process - if a piece of land that is not developed can be considered disposable - then it opens up another issue; Is this the direction the city should be going?

If the council is considering selling park lands for other kinds of projects, that concerned us. The community is entitled to a say in this decision and at least have an opportunity to try to influence them. Maybe thereís a better alternative, especially if they want a parking garage or something downtown. We are not against downtown, but there are options that do not include selling our community park site. The Palm Avenue site is a great location for a community center and it is central enough for other kinds of uses. If we lose this, Mission basically loses its ability to have a community park at any time.

I hope the council will understand that the community treasures its parks. And we know that at this stage of development in Fremont, the likelihood of finding choice pieces of property suitable for community parks is gone in some areas. They cannot, based on immediate need, look at parklands as a solution to their problem. The community will, I hope, let them know how they feel about it.

Everybody knows that we cannot develop all the parklands overnight. Central Park is not fully developed, and as we had said in our petition, 30 acres there is undeveloped, so is this a future piece for their disposable land? Many citizens feel that they are more and more removed from the major decision making processes in the city. The response we are getting indicates that maybe we do have a voice. That is refreshing for me!

This is our community. Donít we have any ability to input? I think that thereís a significant frustration level out there with different issues that is coming to the surface. This is where we live. This is what we feel we need for a good quality of life. We really want to be heard. I think the council should accept this as a very healthy response of the community.

Bob Tavares:

Pauline sparked my interest and asked if a few of us could get together -- that is how I got involved. And obviously, I believe in it. I donít see selling any parkland, unless itís just a residential sized lot that they picked up, for any reason. Who knows what the future holds, ten, fifteen years from now? I donít think we have enough open space in out city right now, and I donít want to lose any more of it. I donít want to see anything sold, if it can be helped. It is short-sighted. Thatís how I feel. There is a long road ahead of us and when I am dead and gone the city will still be here and they need to think about that once in awhile.

We have the petitions going and as you know, weíre just getting out of the shute and Iíve already got four pages signed. I havenít had one negative response - everybody says, "Where do I sign?" And these arenít just Mission people. I have them read and they say, "Where do I sign? Enough is enough. Enough of this!" A comment that Iím getting is that the city is just not thinking about a lot of things theyíre doing. Thatís what Iím getting. Theyíre simply saying that, "This city is not thinking!" I would like to think thereís an awakening.

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