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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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BlogMcCandless Park in Milpitas is a major disappointment -- and it hasn't...

McCandless Park in Milpitas is a major disappointment — and it hasn’t even opened yet

When I moved into the surrounding area four years ago with my family, we were promised that the giant property sitting beside Mabel Mattos Elementary school would be turned into a beautiful community park. Everyone in my community was talking about the plans that were sent to surrounding communities back during the pandemic — about how wonderful it would be. A lot of the more seasoned residents even said, “It’s about time! We’ve been promised a park there for over a year and it’s sat as an empty field…”

And there it continued to sit.

And yes, COVID times could be used as an excuse…for maybe the first six months. But it sat…and sat…and sat. My kids and I would go over there sometimes and dream of what a park would be like. We had, after all, seen the plans. The picnic tables would be right over there. The butterfly garden would be here. The community garden would be so beautiful.

Then suddenly: it happened. After years of waiting, a fence went around the property and construction vehicles started showing up on the regular in the summer of 2021. Back in early 2022, park structures started popping up and teasing us. The whole community was excited. Surely it would be done soon! How long would it take to build? 

Then a sign was slapped on the fence at one of the entrances: “OPENING SUMMER 2022.” Families hemmed and hawed about how long the park was taking. It looked nearly done! How could it take until summer?

Nonetheless, after my family took a late summer trip, we were all abuzz about coming home to the completed new community space; we dreamed about all of the fun we would have there, only to come home to a new sign that read “OPENING FALL 2022.” That sign has since changed to “OPENING WINTER 2022” then “OPENING SPRING 2023.”

The absolute absurdity of this ever-extending opening date not only makes the City of Milpitas look bad, it takes away from the sense of community we have been falsely promised while disappointing every young family in the area. I talk to a lot of parents regularly, and a main topic of conversation I hear around me is “Are they ever going to open that park? It’s been promised to us for years. My kid will probably be too old for it by the time it finally opens up.” 

There is even a beautiful field included in the project that there is no access to yet, although it is fully complete. This field would benefit the new Mabel Mattos Elementary school, as it has no field and the school would have access to it during school hours…if only the city would ever remove the fencing.

 

 

One day, I decided to call the number on the sign of the parks guy running the show and see what gives. According to him, they had been waiting on PG & E this entire time, and hadn’t gotten any response from them. Um, in all the years that this project has been underway, it’s just been crickets from PG & E? That seems a little far-fetched.

I asked him for a projected completion date back in December, and was told that at the beginning of March, surely the project would be complete. I told him that I was going to hold him to that, and I would like to talk to him again. He said to call back in February. I didn’t want to seem pushy, so I waited until mid-March to once again call the number on the sign attached to the fence.

“There has still been no word from PG & E. We’re waiting on power for the bathrooms and then it will be done.”

I have to make it clear: everything else (with the exception of the field) has been done for months…and months…and months…with no community access. I asked him if there was anything that the good people of Milpitas could do to speed along the process. He said there was nothing that could be done. I asked him what would happen if I talked to the Mayor — if she somehow could have some power in all this — but he said that when the Mayor called him he would tell her the same thing.

So, here we are. In April. With a new completion date sign: “SUMMER 2023.”

Last weekend, though, there was a crack in the gate, and community members poured into the space. Hundreds of them managed to enjoy all that the beautiful community park has to offer. So I called the mayor and left a message letting her know that the community is literally sliding through cracks in the fence because the park has teased us all for so long, and implored her to convince…whoever it is that needs convincing…to open up the gate. Since then the gate has been re-secured, with no response from the mayor.

I, along with my fellow community members in the densely populated area surrounding this park project, am immensely disappointed with how this project is going.

GIVE US THE NEW MCCANDLESS PARK! Or at least parts of it…please…before I turn around and all my kids have grown into teenagers…

 

 

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Vanessa Dueck
Vanessa Dueck
Vanessa Dueck is a Milpitas resident and local muralist. Find her work at: @vanessahardedge

13 COMMENTS

  1. Our former mayor, Rich Tran, who many people thought was a great mayor was a do nothing failure. His motto which he repeated hundreds of times was “I am all about Milpitas families”. Rich Tran is a liar and Carmen Montano is under review. We deserve better leadership for Milpitas!

  2. Completely agree with you. This is a great disappointment. We have been waiting for this park to open for several years. Let us know if there is anything we can do here

  3. I’m a construction contractor, and let me tell you… PG&E sets their own schedule, and there is nothing you can do about it.

    This is what happens when the state passes so many regulations that it forces out all competition, and creates a monopoly.

  4. When my wife and I bought our new condo at the end of Curtis at the Parc Metropolitan (Great Mall area) we, too, waited a long time for the promised park. Only when the residents started to make noise did it get completed and opened. My suggestion to you is to attend the city council meetings with signs and protest!

  5. PG&E = Public Graft and Endangerment. Never forget the San Bruno (gas leak) and “Camp” (forest) fires, both due to corporate malfeasance, which combined took 93 lives. Time to break them up into local public energy co-ops. Take away the greed motive and make them more responsive to their customers.

  6. Waiting for it to open as well! Such a beautiful park n space! Lucky we have the park in our traverse community that we can enjoy until then

  7. One of my kids already grew up while waiting for this part to open. The park is amazing but very disappointed with the progress. Even without PG&E work the progress is very slow.

  8. Nice article. It is unfortunate that your community can not get cooperation. Has anyone contacted PG&E or maybe have an investigative reporter do a follow-up. Public attention in the media has always proven to get attention and response from the involved parties. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  9. The author states “According to him, they had been waiting on PG & E this entire time, and hadn’t gotten any response from them. Um, in all the years that this project has been underway, it’s just been crickets from PG & E? That seems a little far-fetched.” Then Brad the construction contractor said “PG&E sets their own schedule, and there is nothing you can do about it.” Based on my experience getting my service panel upgraded from 100A to 200A (when I converted to all electric), Brad is absolutely correct. My contractor had to make 4 different appointments before they did what we wanted them to do.
    .
    Thus, I agree with Mark: “PG&E = Public Graft and Endangerment. Never forget the San Bruno (gas leak) and “Camp” (forest) fires, both due to corporate malfeasance, which combined took 93 lives. Time to break them up into local public energy co-ops. Take away the greed motive and make them more responsive to their customers.” We can complain as much as we want to PG&E, but we can’t vote them out of office – or switch to a competitor.
    .
    I disagree with Brad’s right-wing talking point “This is what happens when the state passes so many regulations that it forces out all competition, and creates a monopoly.” It is not a matter of regulation or monopoly; it is corporate greed. Utilities like electricity and water are natural monopolies because we don’t have multiple choices for either. As for regulation, the City of Santa Clara has a long tradition of quality public services and a well-maintained infrastructure. The City has owned and operated its own electric, water and sewer utilities for over a century. Operating under the same regulations as PG&E, Santa Clara provides lower utility rates and high standards of service.

  10. There is a park in Sunnyvale that opened up last year, the restrooms weren’t open yet at the time that the playground was!

  11. It’s better if you would not have told that people were sliding through the cracks. We could have let our kids play atleast. The city of Milpitas just wants to keep collecting property taxes, and they have no issues approving enormous amount of condo’s near great mall and Milpitas bart areas. They keep collecting so much funds why can’t they complete a small park which is good for community buildings. Looks like they don’t really care about the people. All they care about is collecting money and approve more and more housing in Milpitas.

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