Red phone: Piles of dirt are farmer’s compost

Piles of compost line fields near Las Animas Elementary School

Can you tell us what all the neat rows of piles of dirt are on
the empty field adjacent to Las Animas School are for?

“Can you tell us what all the neat rows of piles of dirt are on the empty field adjacent to Las Animas School are for?”

Dear Piled High,

Red Phone contacted Operations Services Manager Carla Ruigh, who said the long, neat piles in the field west of Las Animas School are compost which will be spread out for agricultural related hay harvesting.

Then Joe Kline, the city’s public information officer, sent Red Phone an e-mail expanding on the compost.

“The farmer will be plowing the compost into the hay fields to improve the hay crop,” he wrote.

Hope that answers your question good caller.

Park needs more lighting

“Is it just me or would it make sense to add a few lights to Miller Park? I drove by there and that place was pitch black! Might help cut down on a bit of crime and prevent something in the future from occurring.”

Dear Light it Up,

Red Phone contacted Ruigh, who said you are correct, more lighting is needed. There are three street lights on Princevalle Street, three on Carmel Street and one on Second Street. This provides some evening light into the park. There are also four external restroom lights, but two of those have been vandalized. Staff is in the process of repairing the two broken lights and once that is done, things should be a little brighter. They are set to come on at 6 p.m. and shut off at midnight.

“According to Park and Community Facilities Planning Manager Bill Headley, the park was built before security lighting was a standard for the city’s parks, which is why there isn’t more lighting inside the park,” Ruigh said. “Staff agrees that some additional security lighting in the park would be a good thing.”

But, adding lighting to the park would be a capital construction project. During the upcoming review of the Capital Improvement Budget, staff can identify security lighting at Miller Park as an unfunded need that should be considered for inclusion in the CIB.

“However, since this is a general fund expense, it will be competing with many other unfunded needs at a time when capital projects that are already scheduled are being cut or deferred to address budget issues,” Ruigh said.

So good caller, thanks for bringing the issue to light, so to speak. Stay tuned.

A shortsighted move by GUSD?

“We now hear from Gilroy school officials that they need more rooms for elementary students, yet they tore down the elementary school on Wren Avenue a year or so ago. Wasn’t this a very shortsighted action, given the mess they now find themselves in?”

Dear Long-term View,

The decision to demolish the old Las Animas School was made more than three years ago and was based on three main points, according to Deputy Superintendent of Business Services Enrique Palacios, who took over the job this year.

1. GUSD needed a new elementary school in the south west corner of the district.

2. Las Animas at Wren Avenue was too old to modernize and building a new school was more cost effective.

3. The site at Wren Avenue provided an opportunity to market the property for development.

“Looking back, the decision was not shortsighted,” he said. “We needed an elementary school, then, regardless of the location. At the time, the Wren Avenue property was attractive for development. The conversion of this property from school site to housing site is on hold. Once we pass Measure P, we will make recommendations based on enrollment projections and the Facilities Master Plan.

Good caller, hope that helps.