Dear Barron Park neighbor,
I hope you had a joyful and relaxing holiday season and are starting a health and happy new year. I am writing this email as the immediate past President of the Board of the Barron Park Association. I am happy to announce that Richard Elder has been elected as the new President by the Board and has started in this position at the beginning of 2017. Rich has been on the Board since 2014 and has lived in Barron Park with his wife Linda for over twenty years. The Board also elected Jon Affeld into the position of Vice President.
I’ve been on the BPA Board since 2010 and President for the last three years. I enjoyed the work (and I will stay on the Board), but I feel it is important that we turn over this position on a regular basis, ideally every year. This way, new ideas and new energy are constantly brought to the fore on the Board, and no one person remains in this position for too long. Most of the BPA’s work gets done by the committee chairs and their committees, but the President runs the monthly meetings and represents the BPA toward the public, so he or she sets the tone and the pace for the BPA to some degree.
We are fortunate to have a strong board, with several new members and candidates joining over the last two years. As you hopefully know, there is a lot of activity around various kinds of events, the environment, membership development, business relations, the newsletter, our website, community outreach, and much more. I’d like to thank the members of the Board and the committees for their hard work and for their support over the years!
As regular readers of our newsletter know, I believe that the BPA has a very important role to play in building community in Barron Park. The BPA does this through neighborhood events, communication and education, and collaboration with the City. The BPA has been successful in helping to improve infrastructure, bringing ideas and concerns to relevant organizations and businesses around us, and bringing Barron Park residents together.
If you are a BPA member, you can support this work by maintaining your membership and encouraging your friends and neighbors to become members. In fact, this is the only way that the BPA can be successful. If you can do more, please volunteer in whatever capacity you are able to help. And I hope you support Rich, Jon, and the rest of the board however you can! (If you are not a BPA member, please join!)
See you around the neighborhood!
As many residents know, the City of Palo Alto is working on a 25-year Parks, Trails, Open Space and Recreation Master Plan for Palo Alto, including Bol Park. For each park, the city is proposing a variety of upgrades in response to today’s requirements and interests of our population, and the city has been reaching out to ask for community input and feedback on the proposals (e.g., community workshop on 2/11/16, community meeting on 5/25/16, online review at the above website, and more to come).
Overall, this is an exciting long-term development for our city, even as some of the concrete proposals for Bol Park may not fit our environment (e.g., the heritage of this park). In order to ensure organized involvement, the Board of the Barron Park Association has authorized the formation of a committee to study this issue, prepare a response, and work with the city to ensure appropriate upgrades that reflect community-wide concerns. The board appointed long-time resident and former BPA President Dick Placone as chairperson.
Dick will reach out with further information in the coming days and weeks. We are hoping for wide-spread input and participation, from long-time residents to newcomers, and from our youth to families to senior residents, reflecting the diverse community of our neighborhood using this park. We believe that we need to strive for a balance between remembering our past and providing for today’s needs. And, while Bol Park will be the focus, we believe that it may also make sense to think beyond it, in particular to Juana Briones Park and “Strawberry Hill” (the triangle area on the edge of Gunn’s property), where some of the proposed features could be implemented. Note that there is plenty of time, as even the short-term work is scheduled for around a 5-year time frame.
Further options to be involved is to provide feedback to the city online and to attend some of the community meetings. You can also sign up for emails from the city to stay involved and updated with the city’s process.
The Spring issue of the quarterly BPA newsletter, which goes to all residents of Barron Park, just came out. I hope you enjoyed this amazing collection of articles about people, events, and developments in our community. (If you didn’t get it, you can find an electronic copy on this site.)
Are you a member of the Barron Park Association? If yes, you are one of the roughly 450 residents who support the BPA’s many activities and receive all four quarterly newsletters, not just this one.
If you are not a member, you are still benefiting from the BPA’s various community events, such as the May Fête, Movie in the Park, the Meet and Learns, monthly Community Happy Hours, and our cultural diversity events (like the very popular Lunar New Year and Diwali celebrations). You are also benefiting from the BPA’s advocacy on traffic, development, and environmental issues. All of these are just the latest of the continuing activities in the BPA’s over 60 years of community engagement. (Did you know that the BPA was instrumental in creating Bol Park, in ensuring flood control for Barron Park, and other community improvements of lasting change?) The BPA is playing a key role in making our neighborhood fun and safe.
So if you are not a member, we would like to invite you to become one. Just use this site to sign up. Please support your neighborhood association. Almost 10% more of your neighbors decided to join the BPA last year, but we are missing you!
If you are a member, please drop me a note about what it is that you enjoy about the BPA (email to: president at bpapaloalto dot org). And then tell me what more we should be doing as a community. We are one of the most active associations in Palo Alto, but I know there is more that we can do. I hope to hear from you!
(This is an updated version of my Summer 2015 BPA Newsletter column.)
In the right context, good ideas beget more good ideas. In the BPA, we are seeing the evidence this year with the emergence of a number of new events and volunteers for the BPA. Two years ago, former board member Lydia Kou started cultural diversity events with the first (Chinese) Lunar New Year celebration. She organized another successful Lunar New Year event earlier this year, which inspired BPA member Jaya Pandey to propose an (Indian) Deepawali celebration event. With the help of board member Gwen Luce and a small army of new volunteers Gwen helped recruit, we can now look forward to this event in November. For another example, late last year membership chair Lisa Landers suggested an informal member event to enhance interaction between BPA members and the board. We held the first BPA Community Happy Hour in January, and it is promising to become a regular and popular event (attended by 10-15 residents each month). In turn, it was the first Happy Hour where BPA member Catherine Hendricks proposed a new kind of event where residents and friends of Barron Park present and teach their expertise in small groups. This became the BPA Meet and Learn, and we have had four so far.
All of these events came out of suggestions from BPA members, and the board has been happy to support them. Past efforts also included support for a booth at the Palo Alto Chili Cook-Off, for the Juana Briones Run, and for several bicycle events. In the meantime, Lydia Kou turned her energy to organizing another Movie in the Park event, and BPA member Jeannie Lythcott, who volunteered for the BPA in the past, stepped forward with several new ideas for community events. (See the event calendar in the upcoming BPA newsletter.) And of course there was our very interesting annual meeting in March, and board member John King, former resident Sarah Van Zanten, and an army of volunteers put together another fantastic May Fete.
It is wonderful to see all of these activities from volunteers contributing to the community. They are not limited to community events, but those currently see the most popularity. Other recent BPA-sponsored activities included the bike path committee and a group that invested substantial time to investigate the proposal for a hydrogen refueling station on El Camino Real. Also, Maurice “Maury” Green recently joined the BPA board to take on Neighborhood Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and we’re very grateful to have such an experienced member support this important area. Look for articles on these activities in the upcoming BPA newsletter.
Where else could we use help? Two committee chairs that are currently vacant are Zoning and Land Use, and Traffic and Streets. We know that BPA members care about these. In fact, those were core topics at the recent Palo Alto 2030 Summit, and Barron Park was well represented among the large number of attendants. Or perhaps you’re interested in our surrounding businesses and/or schools; we would benefit from liaisons to these organizations. If you have another favorite topic that you believe the BPA should support, please do not hesitate to bring it to the board. In fact, join us at an upcoming Happy Hour and tell us all about your interests. The board and your neighbors will be very happy to hear your ideas and benefit from your contributions!