Friday, July 18, 2008
The Proper Use for Park Land?
Here's a photo of the a little corner of John McLaren Park that is the site of a proposed trash and recycling center. The yellow building adjacent to the site belongs to the Girls After School Academy, an after school program for Sunnydale girls ages 8 to 18. Just down the hill and next to the academy starts the Sunnydale public housing projects. In the background of the photo are the magnificent trees, trails of the park as well as the Gleneagles International Golf Course. Across the street from the proposed site is the John McLaren Child Development Center, a school my wife and I visited for my daughter who has been struggling with developmental delays. Also across the street is one the most beautiful natural areas of John McLaren Park.
After Golden Gate Park, John McLaren Park is next largest park of the city. It has the most natural areas, trees, trails and scenery of any other park in the city. Scattered throughout are many other recreational uses including playgrounds, tennis courts, amphitheaters and golf courses. We need to be encouraging use of this fine park not making it a site for waste and recycling, uses which may very well dampen the park's appeal to people from the Visitacion Valley and Sunnydale community.
The trash and recycling center is being proposed by the Newsom administration and Norcal waste as a solution to the SF Housing Authority's utter failure to provide dignified and clean housing for Sunnydale residents, many of whom have not been properly separating their recycling and putting out and retrieving their garbage and recycling bins.
The administration's proposal will offer recycling jobs for Sunnydale residents who will be able to use the jobs as a pathway into the waste management industry. The workers will help other residents sort their garbage and properly use their bins. They will also transport the bins to the trash and recycling compactors at the center next to the Girls After School Academy.
At Monday night's joint Rec and Park and SFHA committee meeting, I spoke in favor of the jobs and against the proposal to site the recycling center within the park. I spoke of a win-win solution that would use the City and Norcal's recycling facility on Tunnel Ave which is only 1.3 miles away from Sunnydale instead of the John McLaren Park site. In this way, the Norcal and the SFHA could still create the jobs for the Sunnydale residents who can work their neighbors to create better handling of trash and recycling .
The solution seems simple enough, but the Rec and Park and SFHA commissioners who were present at the meeting made no indication of what was to happen next. They need to hear from us. Follow this link to contact the SFHA commission and next one for the Rec and Park Commission.
Scores of residents and park advocates spoke against the proposal and offered many alternatives for the site including a garden and nursery for small plants. Many other people, including Newsom Administration insiders and the President of the Sunnydale Tenants Association, spoke in favor of the proposal.
All of our communities should have access to jobs and good park land.