Park Commission to hear report on public safety issues

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Martinez Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission will hear reports tonight on public safety and maintenance.

Commissioners and residents described their concerns at the Commission’s April meeting, starting when one resident, Bill Nichols, told the panel during the public comment period, “I’m tired of stepping on needles.”

He described seeing feces from both dogs and humans and people openly urinating in front of families at Waterfront Park.

Commissioner Rob Parolek said he has seen people living in Waterfront Park, and has been told its picnic area isn’t used because transients use it as a hangout. Vice Chairperson Karen Bell-Patten described similar episodes and said during one trip to the park, “I felt unsafe.”

At that meeting, Police Chief Manjit Sappal urged those who see inappropriate behavior should call the dispatch number, 925-372-3440, rather than post on social media.

During last week’s City Council meeting, other residents complained about trash and waste left by homeless, including in local creeks and waterways. They said they have seen needles on Rankin Park’s playground and near Susana Park’s restrooms. Others said children can’t play in some places.

Sappal will give the report tonight, and will cover safety concerns regarding homeless people in city parks and ways the public’s concerns can be addressed; the pros and cons of plans for public safety cameras at city parks; dealing with after-hour or overnight parking city parks, including a suggestion for installing locking gates; and whether on-street parking on Morello Avenue would benefit Hidden Lakes Park.

Some of those topics involve the city’s Public Works Department, he advised.

Public Works Maintenance Superintendent Bob Cellini and his staff will give a presentation on various parks maintenance topics requested by the Commission.

The talk will cover Public Works organization and areas of responsibility, how it works with Martinez Police, the department’s point of view about overnight or after-hours parking in city parks and the department’s observations on locked gates and possible on-street parking on Morello Avenue for Hidden Lakes Park.

Two organizations will ask for fee waivers for their use of two different areas of Rankin Park.

Martinez Early Childhood Center Executive Director Cassandra Campbell, will request a fee waiver for the use June 6 of Rankin Park Canyon for a celebration picnic. About 50 to 100 are expected to attend, and the fee normally is $240. A $350 deposit is not waived.

Kris Gery of the Foster Family Network, will ask to use Rankin Park Olive Grove July 28 for the Foster Family Network annual picnic. About 100 people will attend, Gery said. Olive Grove normally rents for $240, with a required $350 deposit.

The Commission will consider approving June 16 as its date for a retreat to multiple topics, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at the Martinez Senior Center has been proposed.

The agenda for the workshop includes an overview and analysis of the Commission’s duties and responsibilities, when and how the panel makes recommendations to the Council, committee staff support and meeting procedures.

The Commission also will discuss upcoming site visits to the city’s parks at the beginning of meetings in June, July and August.

Michael Chandler, deputy director of Administrative Services, said the panel visited Highland Avenue, Cappy Ricks, Susana, Rankin and Nancy Boyd parks in 2017, and if the panel doesn’t want to revisit those parks, he suggested tours of Rankin Aquatic Center and Hidden Valley, Hidden Lakes and Mountain View parks.

In addition, the Commission could visit the Martinez Library and the temporary dog park in Waterfront Park.

Tours would begin at 6:30 p.m. at Martinez City Hall to start a Commission meeting, and once the tours are complete, Commissioners would reconvene the meeting upon returning to City Hall.

The Park, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission will meet at 7 p.m. tonight in the Council Chamber of Martinez City Hall, 525 Henrietta St.

One Reply to “Park Commission to hear report on public safety issues”

  1. Donna Beth,

    I have been thinking of you and missing your reporting. The Benicia Herald has suffered after you left.
    I seem to remember that you own property in Hawaii. Are you affected by the volcano?
    Do you still have the Pony Express article I gave you when you were in Benicia?

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