The report on city parks was damning: Bungee cords holding bleachers together. No trash cans in sight. A makeshift dump.
Last week, a task force assigned to provide recommendations for the city’s parks and recreation center didn’t have much good to say.
The City Council’s reaction: It’s embarrassing.
In the summer, Mayor Tony Marquez appointed a seven-member task force to examine the city’s parks and recreation center.
The report documented problems with graffiti, broken fences, bent basketball rims, a concession stand containing dead animals and parks without any trash cans. The city has 14 parks — nine on the east side and five on the west side.
The report pointed to a lack of cleanliness at the recreation center at Mills and Grand avenues, as well as problems with customer service. Additionally, the task force advised that all on-duty employees should be clearly identified with name badges.
The task force advised that the city parks department have a daily schedule to go to each park for cleanup and assessment. And members said there was only one truly children-friend park on the west side — South Pacific.
The task force further alleged that the city itself may be depositing some of its waste at Rodriguez Park, which has the westside ball fields.
Arturo Mondragon, a task force member, said that cross country teams from other towns have participate in events at Rodriguez Park.
“Bleachers are fixed with Bungee cords. That’s what we have to offer?” he said.
Mayor Tony Marquez said he was “totally embarrassed” about the conditions of the parks.
“We have our kids out there, people visiting our community,” he said. “You did our job for us.”
Councilman Andrew Feldman agreed.
“It’s about time that this come out. It’s embarrassing,” he said.
Councilman Morris Madrid said he noticed that the three longest lists of problems were for parks on the west side.
“I share the mayor’s shame. You were very nice to us,” he told the members of the task force.
Madrid added that he thought the city may be to blame for the dumping at Rodriguez Park.
Councilwoman Diane Moore also called the city parks situation embarrassing.
“It’s up to us to step up to the plate,” she said.
The task force stated in its report that it wanted to reconvene in six months to evaluate progress on the recommendations.
Marquez said he would like the city begin addressing the problems and asked for a report in six months.
Report on city parks
Members of Parks and Recreation Task Force: Arturo Mondragon, Liz DeVries, Suzanne Gonzales, Sam Lujan, James Montoya, Rosita Ellis (interim recreation center director) and Sherry Anne Clancy (staff aide).
The following are some of the recommendations of the city’s task force on parks and the recreation center:
• More portable toilets in all parks
• More trash cans in all parks (some have none).
• All parks should be Americans With Disabilities Act compliant.
• All parks should have rules posted.
• Implement a regular daily schedule and check list for city employees to go to each park in the morning and do any cleanup as necessary and make note of needed maintenance, especially in the warm months.
• Add sand under monkey bars for child safety.
• Add basketball goals.
• Needs trash cans.
• Repair fence.
• Playground needs maintenance.
• Clean portable toilets.
• Finish fence on southeast side.
James Marrujo Park
• Clean up dead trees on other side of fence.
• Clean up and fix broken cables between posts.
• Plant more trees.
• Fence is broken.
• Parking guards on posts too low.
• Concession stand has dead animals.
• Weeds and trash should be cleared.
• Equipment used to drag fields is left out on field.
• Area where drainage has cut through fields needs to be fixed.
• Bleachers are broken.
• Clean up bottles and trash under the lion statue. The door opens and should be locked.
• Preserve and maintain lion statue as it is a historical landmark.
• Clean up graffiti and add more trash cans.
• Post a sign designating park name and rules should be posted.
Pancho Padilla Park
• Bleachers could be moved and used somewhere else — no one sits on them.
• Lock up batting cage after hours. Install sign that lists hours for use.
• Fix huge ruts in soccer field.
• Add water fountain.
• Rock once had a plaque.
• Build public restrooms.
• Bathrooms needs new low-flow toilets and maintenance.
• Light pole in center field is cracked. Other lights may not be working at all.
• At one time, PNM said it would donate poles and labor for new lights. City was supposed to supply lights. This never happened. Followup needed.
• City should follow up to clean property. There is illegal dumping.
• Hand-washing sink in concession stand needs repairs.
• Bleachers need to be moved to more appropriate viewing area. Repairs are needed.
• Trash and weeds need to be cleared.
• Not all security lights are working.
• Lights on concession stand room are broken.
• Fence is bent and down.
• Schedule meeting with Luna Community College on compliance with the memorandum of understanding for Henry Martinez Field and T-ball field.
• Install a playground set in conjunction with La Plaza ball field.
• Fix sponsor signs that have fallen off the scoreboard.
• Add a security gate that will close off the park at Grant and Keen.
• Add locks to gates at the fields.
• Paint buildings consistent with proper colors — green and gold.
• Stop dumping city waste.
South Pacific Park
• Put sand in the play area where the plastic is showing through.
• Volleyball net needs to be replaced with sturdy outdoors net.
• Horseshoe area needs pit, and the stakes should be a brighter color for visibility and safety.
• Parking should be designated for the park only, and residents who park there should be cited. Make parking area on west end of park.
• Basketball net needs to be replaced and fix bent rims.
• More trees should be planted.
• Swing is missing.
• Steps should be swept, kept free of sand and marked with reflective tape.
• Graffiti needs to be removed.
• Retaining wall needs repair.
• An old water spout is exposed and should be capped for safety.
Tony Martinez Welcome Center
• Fix trash cans with metal sticking out.
• Put fence behind swings or remove swings. It’s dangerous next to yard with multiple dogs.
• Fix piece of train sticking out.
• Park needs general cleanup.
• Change name to Tony Martinez Park. Welcome Center is confusing to tourists.
• Needs trash cans.
• Add picnic tables.
• Dangerous pipe sticking out of ground.
• Needs trash cans.
• Clear weeds around guns.
• Add benches.
• Plates on water controls broken and need to be fixed.
• Build gazebo and stage for entertainment.
• All emergency exit doors should have alarms to prohibit people from coming in without membership and without supervision for safety and accountability.
• Install a scan machine with photo ID for membership sign-in. Members could be asked to pay a standard amount for their ID cards to help defray the cost.
• Employees should wear name badges.
• City employees should pay $10 a month for use of the recreation center, except for fire and police.
• Hourly cleaning log with initials and times should be implemented.
• Maintenance log should be implemented.
• Close recreation center for complete cleaning, painting and repairs at least twice each year.
• Put suggestion box at the front desk for citizen suggestions on any city-owned location and establish a process for reviewing and posting suggestions and followup.
• After-school program hours on Friday should be extended.
• Customer service should be improved so that members are greeted with a smile.
• Post signs with times, fees and capacity for residents who want to schedule a party.
• Written agreements should be signed by anyone using the recreation center for parties or special events.
• Implement a code of conduct for youth leagues’ parents and have zero tolerance.
• Develop youth football league and soccer field near recreation center or Rodriguez Park.
• Recreation center trainers should be certified or licensed.
• The trainers’ computer and meeting area should have some privacy and computer use should have some accountability. Trainers should monitor workout area.
• Ask for sponsors who could place higher quality televisions in the workout areas with signs advertising the sponsors.
• Place a sign at the Grand Avenue entrance showing an arrow to the recreation center. The only sign now is at the top of the hill at the entrance to the parking lot. People driving down Grand wouldn’t know the city has a recreation center if they’re not familiar with the town.