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Neighborhood Playgrounds

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Saturday, June 3rd, 2000 @ 12:52 AM
Subj: Neighborhood Playgrounds
From: (Ronald Horii)

Re: building a playground at the Bernal-Joice Rancho:

The Bernal-Joice Rancho is an historical site. It is being restored and will soon house an interpretive museum, with displays about early ranch life. The barn is also being restored. It will have displays and farm animals. This will become a fun and educational place for people of all ages. A modern-style playground would clash with the historical nature of the site. However, an old-fashioned style playground might work. Maybe a little farther over by Santa Teresa Springs might be better, since there's just an open field there.

A better place for a playground might be at the other end of Manila Drive, near St. Julie's Church. There's a large plot of open land that belongs to the water district, just below the Coyote-Alamitos Canal. The land is gently-sloped, but this might make a good place to put a hillside slide, like the ones they have at Brigadoon Park in East San Jose.

The ownership of the land near the hills is complicated. The house across from Bernal School on San Ignacio is on county parkland and is occupied by a park ranger. The house on Curie near Radko Drive is private. The lot west of it is county parkland. It is an historical site. There's a marker there to explain it. It's called the Bear Tree Lot because the tree there was used for bull-and-bear fights during the rancho era. It's also the site of an Indian graveyard. There may be restrictions about building here for archeological reasons (not to mention ghosts, which people have reported seeing in this area).

For information about this part of Santa Teresa Park, see this page: 2.htm#Joice

and l2.htm#Santa Teresa Springs

Politically, developing parklands near the hills gets complicated. There are 3 public agencies that have jurisdiction over land in that area: the county, the city, and the water district. Getting 3 big bureaucracies to agree with each other can be tricky, but it can be done. As an example, look at the creek trails, like the Los Gatos Creek Trail. In that case, it took the county, the water district, and 3 cities to work with each other, and they did a great job.

If you want to pursue it, you need to do some homework first. You need to find out who has jurisdiction. Here are some places to look:

San Jose Parks & Rec. Dept:
The County Parks:
The Santa Clara Valley Water District:

Then you need to contact the right politician:
Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors District 1 (Don Gage):
San Jose City Council District 2 (Charlotte Powers):
The County Parks Commission:
The Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors (see District 1-Rosemary Kamei):

If you don't get anywhere, you need to get some friends and neighbors together and form a citizen's action group, like the STCAG:

If you live near the end of Cottle, you actually have a city park nearby. It's Century Oaks Park. It's on the undeveloped hillside between Curie and the Coyote-Alamitos Canal. It runs along the hillside from Cottle Road to Galen Drive.The city owns the land and is designated as a park, though there are no plans to develop it yet. It may seem a little too hilly to build a playground, but with some creative design, it may be possible. Belgatos Park in Los Gatos is an example of a really nice park and playground in a hilly area.

Here's some information about playgrounds and other amusements for little kids:

Ron Horii

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