‘Best end use for Pine Meadow … park/recreation & open space’

Dear Editor,

With regard to the mayor’s recent article about Pine Meadow as open space, please note a few points.

The mayor says Pine Meadow is not open space, but:

• Livermore is converting its Springtown Golf Course to open space. What do they know that we don’t?

• Abused land has been turned into open space and parks for years. Look at Black Diamond park … a former coal mine. “Pristine” ranch lands that are ploughed for roads and ponds, run with cattle and covered with invasive plant species have become wonderful open spaces.       

• Even our own waterfront was used as a land fill until Ted Radke decided in the 1970s it should be protected for open space/park use.  Look it up.

• Pine Meadow has plenty of wildlife, is a beautiful site, offers scenic views of Mt. Diablo and is connected to numerous trails and open space/parks.    

But all this talk of whether Pine Meadow is worthy to be called open space begs the question. Pine Meadow has always been open space/recreation, and in the General Plan it was called out as a place for a golf course, a recreation use.

The best end use for Pine Meadow has always been as a combination park/recreation and open space site.

Some say we have enough parks, and don’t need anymore.  But consider this:

• Martinez has not had a new park in over 20 years, and up to 40 percent of existing parks are not City-owned.

• Our population continues to grow and housing development is increasing too. See, for example, the huge housing project the City Council approved at Arnold Way and Pacheco Boulevard in Martinez.

• The new Draft General Plan says 29.5 acres of new park space would be needed for new residents.

• Pine Meadow is our last site for a major Martinez open space/park.  No other sites are left in Martinez. That is why we have called Pine Meadow “The Last Martinez Park.”

• We have shown the City several sources of funding for parks, including National Park Service grants and others.

Parks increase our property values, make our lives healthier and better, reduce the stress and strains of modern life, and connect us and our children with nature and the outdoors.

Comparing Pine Meadow and Alhambra Hills is like comparing apples and oranges. Pine Meadow is a park/recreation use with some open space.  Alhambra Hills is open space at its best. They fill different needs for our growing community – a community strong enough to do both, even if final improvements have to wait. Get the land before it disappears.

That leads to the last point.  From the dais above us, several of the City Councilmembers said one of the reasons they were okay with rewriting Pine Meadow history was because there was talk of a compromise on the land.  It was even alluded to by the developer.  We know a compromise is in the air because we have been involved in such discussions, and were asked in January to gauge support for a project from the developer that showed half the site for public use and half for high-density senior housing. A proposal that would see significant park/open space use for this “Last Martinez Park,” as well as housing for our seniors might be the win-win this community has been seeking for so long.

– Tim Platt & Mark Thomson for Friends of Pine Meadow

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