While he rushed to defend the way our parks and recreation
monies have been spent over the past decade, City Administrator Jay
Baksa didn’t convince me in his recent letter that anything I wrote
in my Sept. 29 column was inaccurate.
While he rushed to defend the way our parks and recreation monies have been spent over the past decade, City Administrator Jay Baksa didn’t convince me in his recent letter that anything I wrote in my Sept. 29 column was inaccurate. As a matter of fact, I am now more convinced than ever that the Northwest Quad, an area responsible for generating a significant percentage of the monies paid through developer’s fees to our city, is the area of lowest priority in the city of Gilroy.
The Northwest Quad of Gilroy has thousands of residents; it has for at least a decade, and it is still growing. I became aware a decade ago that the priority for recreational facilities in Gilroy had a pecking order, and sports topped the list. Let’s be honest – the only reason any park was built in the Northwest Quad during the past 10 years was because Luigi Aprea School was built there. Hence we have one very small park that thousands of residents who live west of Santa Teresa (an area that stretches from Hecker Pass to Sunrise Drive) share with the students who attend school there.
In an effort to defend the city’s prioritization, employees attempt to incorporate the area east of Santa Teresa into the Northwest Quad. To be clear: my concern 10 years ago was that no parks were in place in the Northwest Quad within walking distance for families with young children. Mr. Baksa’s suggestion that I could have taken my children to the levee or skateboarding is an interesting notion, but 10 years ago two of my three were still in strollers. The walk from Longmeadow Drive to the levee would have been challenging to say the least. The whole idea behind neighborhood parks is that they are within walking distance for families. Even today, I do not allow my middle school age children to cross Santa Teresa – so the options for them are limited to Del Rey Park, the only place on Mr. Baksa’s list that is accessible to them.
Not until the two new parks open in the Northwest Quad will the many families here finally have a sense of what has historically been accessible in the rest of Gilroy.
Denise Apuzzo, Gilroy