The Barron Park Association

Apr 022013

Thanks to the efforts of  long time Barron Park resident Dick Placone, who went to bat on this project with the City officials, we shall see some additional landscaping of the Matadero Well site in the near future.

Matadero Well Site Landscaping Plan

Some features of the plan:

  • The existing railroad ties will be re-set and moved inward, leaving room for a 4-foot decomposed granite path along the edge (only for part of the site because there isn’t room next to the Well Site fenced area.
  • The granite path will also circle around to the rear of the site, where two park benches purchased by the community (one by the Barron Park Association and the other by the Henshel family)  will be mounted.
  • New groundcover plantings alongside the granite path.
  • More mulch, and the existing material spread out over the area as indicated.

The rehabilitation of the Matadero Well as an emergency source of water for Palo Alto was completed some months ago. The Utilities Department planned to leave the area outside of the fenced-in area the way it was before the rehabilitation effort – which was a bleak and unattractive empty lot (this land does belong to the Utilities Department, and is not under the control of the Parks Department).

This was the situation the community faced despite the persistence of  BPA President Lynnie Melena, who spent countless hours over the past several years conferring with Utilities Department people during the course of the well rehabilitation project. As a consequence she was able to get the fence and equipment painted a pleasant green befitting a creekside location, but nothing more.  The park benches purchased by the Barron Park Association and the Henshel family were still languishing in storage, waiting for an agreement with the Utilities Department on a suitable location.

This state of affairs did not sit well with Dick Placone, a long time Barron Park resident and the former President of the Barron Park Association. Dick first went to battle with the Utilities Department and leaned on City Manager Jim Keene, who assisted him by having the Utilities Department place some plants around the fenced equipment area. These are hardy, drought resistant shrubs that in a few years, with some care during this coming dry season, will create a natural screen in front of the fence. Claire Elliott, a nearby resident who works with the environmental nonprofit Acterra, has already spent time tending to the new plantings.

This still did not satisfy Dick Placone. So he leaned a little harder on City Manager Jim Keene. The City Manager provided a modest budget for some landscaping and authorized Palo Alto’s landscape architect, Peter Jensen, to prepare the plan shown above. Nearby residents have given their OK . Soon the spot will be an attractive looking place for all the folks in the neighborhood who pass by in their cars or on their bikes, and an inviting place for pedestrians to rest and relax for a short time as they walk by.




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