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Los Gatos Oak Meadow Park Improvements on the Way

Upgrades being considered include restroom expansion, parking lot improvements, among others.

Los Gatos planners tonight are expected to recommend to the Town Council several improvements to , considered the "gem" of local open spaces and located on Blossom Hill Road.

The Parks and Public Works Department is seeking a conditional-use permit to begin the 12-acre recreational oasis' master plan on property zoned resource conservation.

Some of the upgrades include restroom expansion by at least four stalls, parking lot improvements that include expanding its kiosk, installation of a shade structure and solar panels, installation of a playground shade structure, bocce ball court overhang and reserve areas renovation and the identification of a special events area, according to a staff report.

None of the proposed improvements will intensify the use of the park, meaning the upgrades aren't expected to increase the number of local residents who use it on a regular basis during the week and on weekends.

In June of 2008, the Council approved a report and recommendations regarding needed community and youth sports facilities and the disposition of town land within Vasona Lake County Park.

At that time, staff committed to Council a master plan for town parks, which documents current conditions and uses at the local recreational facilities and proposed improvements.

The Oak Meadow Park master plan, presented to the Los Gatos Parks Commission on Aug. 14, was unanimously approved by its members.

The park currently contains playground equipment, a decommissioned USAF T-33 Jet airplane, two bocce ball courts, nine picnic facilities, the popular Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad, W.E. Bill Mason Carousal, access to Vasona Lake County Park, and the Los Gatos Creek Trail.

During July and August, the Festival Theatre Ensemble uses the west side of the park for its annual Shakespeare in the Park festival, which attracts about 2,400 people, according to staff.

Opened in 1958, it's estimated that more than 100,000 people visit the park annually and is considered the most used recreational spot in Los Gatos due to its proximity to Vasona County Lake Park, planners said.

Kim Ratcliff September 12, 2012 at 06:31 PM
This is going to be great & while they're at it, can they put in a big turf field for all the kids in the lot on LG BLVD across from the LG Food Mart! Enough with shoehorning Robson homes in every empty space--let's give the kids' a place to hang out!
Mike Calahan September 12, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Why is Oak Meadow Park a separate park from Vasona? Just curious.
Larry Cargnoni September 12, 2012 at 06:55 PM
great news...we took our kids there a lot when they were younger...
Mondy Lariz September 12, 2012 at 07:17 PM
This park is a wonderful community resource and I am happy to hear it is being upgraded. Just wish we could keep the geese of the grass!
Dyan Chan September 12, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Hi Mike, I'm not sure, but I think Oak Meadow is run by the town of Los Gatos and Vasona is run by the county.
Larry Arzie September 12, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Good question Mike. The merging of overlapping authorities have been in discussion for the past 10 years. Fire departments have done it. Police departments have done it. School districts, water districts etc have found ways to improve and save money. Abutting parks seem like poor fiscal policy. Perhaps the Los Gatos Parks Dept. should take over and run the County park or vice versa.
Mary F. Lucia September 12, 2012 at 07:58 PM
What about the other gems of Los Gatos like Bachmen Park? At this park sprinklers are missing major areas of the lawn and flooding others. Garbage cans need to be upgraded to prevent daily invasion from crows, The lawn need to have the 100s of gopher holes (old and new) filled in. Playing any kind of team sport in the open areas is too dangerous. In fact, just walking across the lawn is dangerous. I personally have broken one ankle, and sprained another. Have also witnessed several people fall due to gopher holes. MY QUESTION: While the improvements to Oak Meadow are nice, are they neccessary? Spend the money on the up keep to all our parks and stop redoing the plaza year after year.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Hi Mary, from my understanding town staff have completed a report about the needed improvements at all Los Gatos Parks. The report documents the current conditions and uses of these facilities and upgrades are coming to all parks as the budget allows. I think they're starting with Oak Meadow Park first due to its huge popularity and high use. Hope this answers your question.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz September 12, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Wow, last I was there it looked so different! And now more improvements can only be nothing but good!
Mike Calahan September 12, 2012 at 08:45 PM
@Larry Arzie Thanks for the response. Does the revenue from the two parking entrances go to the same fund? So, if you're parking in Vasona or Oak Meadow, do they keep those funds separate for maintenance? If, as Dyan says below, one is city and one is county, why is this the case? Sorry for all of the questions, but I've honestly never considered that they were two parks before. I'd research it more on my own, but, ya know, I'm lazy.
Larry Arzie September 12, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Yes Mike, two different agencies overlapping each other. Sort of cost ineffective huh. But pride trumps all..........it's ours, "sometimes it not the money" to quote one of our councilmen". Yes two different parking lots collecting money for each agency, two different attendants etc. etc.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Parking is free for Los Gatos residents, seniors and those with disabilities and other visitors pay $6 to park in the lot next to the park. The park is the property of the town of Los Gatos and is open all week from 8 a.m. until after sunset.
John Lochner September 12, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Hi Sheila, ..... Due to the construction of Highway 17 in 1954, the Town's Memorial Park on Park Avenue was demolished and a new site, formerly the Town sewer farm, located at University Ave and Williams Street (Blossom Hill Road) was purchased from the Denevi family., It opened in 1958 and was built before any of the neighborhood parks that we have today. In 1968, the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad became a part of Oak Meadow Park......Vasona Dam was built in 1934 and the SP Railroad ran alongside until 1959. Farley Road went through at that time. There were several dairy farms around the lake that the County purchased and it eventually became Vasona Lake County Park. They are two separate Parks and there has never been an attempt to consolidate them into one Park.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) September 13, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Thanks for all these great historical facts, John! I think people wonder why the two parks aren't one when they're so close together. The second commenter on this thread, Mike Calahan, was just curious about their proximity. Thanks again!
Esmée St James September 13, 2012 at 01:21 AM
I'm looking forward to the bocci ball court!
Jeanne Rajabzadeh September 13, 2012 at 04:09 AM
It would be nice if the two parks where one, but I don't think it will happen anytime soon. Vasona is a Santa Clara County park and the money they make from the Christmas lights program is used to in the general fund for all of the county parks. This is a big money maker for them, so I don't think they would give it to the town.
Rob Rennie September 13, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Actually oak meadow is not the 1st it is the next. There is continual upgrade of the parks over time as budget allows. A few years ago the play ground was upgraded at belgatos then the tennis courts were resurfaced along with other work at blossomhill. Work is currently being done at live oak and now they are asking for budget approval for this work at oak meadow. Bachman is actually in quit good shape compared to before those other improvements were made at those other parks. Bachman maybe can be considered for next in line. A correction on the parks commission: they were unanimous in agreeing to approval of most of the elements recommended but did reject some elements including reducing some turf area and requesting the new shade structure be estheticly consistent with the rest of the park including hiding the solar panels.
Linda Marie Lovison September 14, 2012 at 06:53 AM
I'm way up in northern Washington state now, but, oh, the hours my children played in the children's play area at Oak Meadow. Do they still have the jet and the fire truck? My children are all grown and now I have grandkids. How time flies!

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