The area around El Oso Grande Park looks a lot different than it did a decade ago. The Oso Grande Neighborhood Association has played a large role in the improvements over the years.
The organization, along with city officials, funding and donations, as well help from the Native Plant Society, was able to transform part of the El Oso Grande Park into a pollinator oasis.
OGNA Vice President Bob Fass said a fire decimated most of the natural foliage at the park in 2010 and organizers came together to make it something more with the pollinator habitat in 2014.
Fass explained the association has also helped with bringing improved street lighting to the area in an effort to prevent teenagers from loitering around the park at night.
However, there is still work to be done.
Battling a lack of parking
Association members said the park has issues with limited parking along the narrow street next to El Oso Grande they’re currently trying to tackle.
“When it gets busy out here with all the sports and the kids, CNM has opened the parking area for overflow, but most people don’t use it and will park where it is outlined in yellow. There are signs saying not to park there, but they still do it anyways,” Fass said.
Fass explained the association got the city to come in and paint the areas complete with no-parking signs, but that does not deter people from parking on the north side of the street. He hopes people can respect the area when visiting and read the signs where it says not to park, emphasizing CNM usually has ample parking across the adjoining bridge on the weekends.
Lights put a damper on visibility
Fass also mentioned the newly built Extra Space Storage, which residents say has been a menace to residents living right across from the new building just east of the park. People also say it is an eyesore to the landscape and community, blocking what used to be a breathtaking view.
“We had petitioned with the city for the the company to comply with bringing down the amount of light pollution, or number of lumens projected down to a reasonable amount, but they have not really complied,” Fass said.
Kathy Alvarado said she lives next door to the Extra Space Storage facility. For the last four months, the blinding lights facing her home have been a nightmare, she said.
“The light in my bedroom feels like I have two 60-inch TVs on all night,” Alvarado said. “The lack of sleep and stress over this situation is affecting my health and performance at work.”
Alvarado said she attended community meeting prior to the structure being put up. Attendees were told that the storage company’s hours would be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and light pollution would not be an issue. She says that has proven to be false. The hours, in fact, are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and homeowners say the facility has not upheld its end to keep the community unaffected by its presence.
City Councilor Trudy Jones told Alvarado the lights are currently within code but offered to set up a meeting with the building’s owner in hopes of mediating an agreement. Alvarado said she is not very optimistic this might happen.
“I purchased this home five years ago and planned to retire here. Just because the city allows these lights to blast our neighborhood doesn’t mean that the owner of the building should.”