Acres of dead grass and dying trees - that's what is left after a piece of a Southeast Fresno neighborhood was left to die.More >>
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) -
Pay up, or watch your neighborhood park wither away. Those are some of the options facing neighbors in one southeast Fresno community.
Neither the city or the land owner want to help restore a popular park for families in the Fancher Creek area.
The developer who owns the land, Bonnadelle Homes, has cut the dead grass to meet city and fire standards, but neighbors say it has done nothing so far to save the dying trees or restore the park to its once lush state.
"He should definitely have his name put to the park, if he owns it, he should have his name put here and see what the local people think about that," said Josine Bopp.
Neighbors say they were told the developer would rather let the park die than spend money on it, or might even get rid of it altogether.
"One option they expressed is to disc the land. Which we do not want them to do. All the infrastructure is here for sprinklers, someone just needs to flip the switch," said Marjorie Donovan, who lives in the area.
But maintenance costs also include water and mowing.
The city of Fresno can't do it.
It's already behind in current park maintenance.
Trees at Woodward Park are dying because the irrigation system is broken.
"We've always been reactive rather than proactive, we got caught behind the 8 ball, a lot of those systems because of their age failed this year. That isn't going to happen next year," said Bruce Rudd, Fresno assistant city manager.
The city can't even afford to keep up three brand new parks scheduled to be built.
Fresno has about $7 million in state grants to build the new parks. But the city doesn't plan to use taxpayer money to keep up the new parks. They say they have non profits, developers, and stakeholders who are pitching in for those costs.
"They need to create a non profit, they need to go out and do fundraising. Then they can enter into an agreement with the property owner," said Rudd.
Paying for the park themselves is something many neighbors don't want to do, but for others, it's an investment they're willing to make.
"Because we want green grass, so we'd chip in. We have no control over that, we would want it," said Bopp.
The Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District says, when it owned the piece of land, they spent about $25,000 a year, keeping the grass green and mowed.
We've put in at least three calls to the developer -Bonnadelle Homes - since we started following this story about two weeks ago.
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