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People Care About Clay Park

By Jan Hintzman, Rolando News Staff

Our community is “rallying ‘round the flag” on behalf of Clay Park. The commitment to our park was obvious at the Rolando Community Council-sponsored Stakeholder Meeting on Saturday, Feb. 2, when upwards of 65 people showed up.

They had lots on their minds! Foremost was a commitment to keep Clay Park safe and accessible for all to use and enjoy. Adam McLane and Georgette Gomez’s office had gathered critical City staff to engage in a community dialogue. Clay School, which jointly uses the playfield, was there as well, and with a strong voice.
Just “Get it Done” was the community message to the City. And the community was not satisfied with the pat response to “report problems on the City app ‘Get it Done’.” It was clear that City staff platitudes weren’t going to work, not with our community, and not with our Councilmember Georgette Gomez. The residents and the Council Office clearly expect action. Community efforts didn’t stop with this gathering. At the March RCC community meeting, attendees were updated regarding progress made since the fateful February meet- ing. Adam McLane reported that Rolando had proved the old maxim, ”the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” When City departments knew they would be facing our community in early February, they came around in advance of the meeting to spiff things up. Soon afterward, the Homeless Advocate Team appeared in the park one morning to help homeless residents find needed services.
But, Adam cautioned, one-off efforts won’t do the trick. A Clay Park Working Group coalesced right after the meeting and laid out an action plan. Its first commitment is to keep the heat on City Departments to maintain a park that is safe and free from littering and trash. Further, the group committed to address detrimental behaviors from unleashed dogs and to uphold the restricted parking and street-cleaning regulations. Positive steps identified include trimming trees and shrubbery to remove visual barriers with the goal of discouraging overnight sleeping and the stashing of belongings.

Fencing to create restricted access to the field during school hours was pegged as important to school safety. Adam elicited applause when he announced the school district is taking steps to create the needed fencing, which will accommodate a path around the field for residents using the back walk-way from Seminole down to Revillo. Look for action on the fence during summer break. On weekends and after school hours, the gates would remain open for community access, sports and recreational activities such as Rolando’s popular summer movie nights. (Sneak preview: two movie nights are being planned for this summer.)
Further, the need for a dog park was identified, and Adam reported that efforts are underway with the City to establish this amenity on the strip of land across Solita Avenue, opposite Clay School.

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In addition to the initiatives of the stellar working group, efforts by the rest of us are called for. Clay Park needs all of our eyes on the park. Adam shared that the City creates a budget for community repairs and improvements, and noted the budget is driven in part by the volume of contacts it receives on its “Get it Done” app. So, we’re back to the “squeaky wheel concept.” If you see too much trash, take a photo and send it in. If you notice water pooling or dry patches of grass, document it on “Get it Done”. Fixing a broken sprinkler is doable before extensive damage occurs. Adam asks that we each take the little step of adding him on our cell phone to notify him of our reports so that he can keep track of our concerns and the City’s response to them. adam@ rolandocc.org.

The Clay Park Working Group is demonstrating that if we all pull together, Clay Park will remain a safe and accessible community asset. Surely, we in Rolando are up to the task!

 

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