Conservation group puts Sacramento in top 10 for park systems

Calm Afternoon

In the Sac Bee’s story on the rebuilding of the McKinley Park playground, I noticed a neat bit of info: the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit group for land conservation, has once again named Sacramento in the top 10 cities in the US for park systems. Our fair city tied with San Francisco (!) and Boston for third overall, below Minneapolis and New York City.

The ranking took into account things like the median park size, park land as a percentage of city land area, and parks per 10,000 residents (Sacramento has 4, twice as many as New York City).

Continue reading “Conservation group puts Sacramento in top 10 for park systems”

A state department is caught wasting time and money

A game of solitaire
Remember when this was the preferred method of wasting time by state employees?

Shocking headline, huh? Can’t believe it, huh? Want to learn more now, don’t you?

As if California’s Department of Parks and Recreation scandal wasn’t enough to irritate the snot out of us (the Sacramento County district attorney will not pursue criminal charges against California state parks officials because of a “failure to identify any crime”), we learn from CBS13 that more fun and frivolity occurred recently at Capitol Bowl in Sacramento.

It was the middle of a work week — but that didn’t stop the State Department of Parks and Recreation from having a little fun. On state time, driving state vehicles and transporting state workers flown in from Southern California for “training,” the employees dined, bowled and laughed, a CBS13 On The Money investigation has learned.

Say what you will about this incident, I found the real issue to be with the ease folks have in lying these days. Continue reading “A state department is caught wasting time and money”

Day trip: Chico [PHOTOS]

To follow up on my post about locations to watch the annular eclipse, we decided on a trip up to Chico since we had never been. The destination was the Chico Community Observatory, an outdoor observation deck in the city’s Bidwell Park. While we didn’t make it to the observatory, we did have great fun in Chico and primarily at the amazing Bidwell Park.

Last weekend happened to be Commencement weekend at CSU Chico, but Sunday late morning when we arrived there were no large crowds, much to our relief. There were small family groups out celebrating their grads which made it a really pleasant atmosphere, though I get the feeling Chico is a pretty friendly place for the most part. We had a picnic lunch at the Children’s Playground near Bidwell Mansion after an aborted attempt to picnic at the City Plaza splashground, which had a “creepy homeless dude” vibe as a result of being populated by creepy homeless dudes sitting and watching children frolic in the fountain. No judging.

Continue reading “Day trip: Chico [PHOTOS]”

State Parks tax measure closer to ballot

at Marshall Gold Discovery Park

Environmental groups were successful in gathering the required signatures to place a new measure on the November ballot which would add an $18 charge to most DMV registrations in order to keep the state parks open.

If approved by a simple majority of state voters on Nov. 2, the measure would increase annual vehicle registration fees for California motorists by $18 a year, and allow any car with California license plates free admission to the state’s 278 parks, which currently charge fees that range from about $6 to $15 per visit.

Of course, tax groups and the Governator will fight such a measure. But though I am no tax lover, to me this actually sounds like a great deal and a major boost to state park attendance, I would think. Of course, that’s because I know that I would really get my money’s worth.

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State Parks cutbacks announced

In the face of a public outcry over the possible closing of many of California’s 278 State Parks, the Governor has announced his alternative plan for funding our State Park system. As announced last month, all parks will remain open, but more than $14 million will be cut from the budget through various means. Services to many parks will be scaled back, including hours of operation, maintenance, staff, and educational opportunities.

After the jump, I will provide a summary of all cuts to Sacramento area parks. If you are planning on visiting any State Park, make sure you research the location to insure that your visit is not adversely affected. And, please, remember that we all own these parks. With reduced services, it is more imperative than ever that we all be good scouts and clean up our own messes, pack out what we bring in and leave no trace of our visit behind.
Continue reading “State Parks cutbacks announced”

City pools are practically closed

Glenn Hall Pool
Glenn Hall Pool, by Midtown Grid user Julia

The bathroom closure announcement is probably the most unfortunate and glaring change in the city’s gutted rec budget, but I’m really disappointed that almost all the pools will now only be open 3-5 PM. There will be no city pools open after 5pm, and several pools — including my beloved Glenn Hall pool — will be closed to recreational swimming entirely. The changes take effect Monday. Oh well, at least the kids can play in the sprinklers, right? Oh wait.

Continue reading “City pools are practically closed”

Because of the budget …

Have you noticed how everyone’s favorite new crutch phrase is “because of the budget” to justify/explain away everything that is going wrong in our state? It only recently surpassed “due to the recent economic downturn” and totally leap-frogged “and the worst has yet to come” to reach the top spot.

The best example I’ve seen lately is from this article about the potential for public urination in our city and county parks with the closure of restrooms.

“We’re going to have heavy cuts to our park staff and our park maintenance and also to our recreation,” Combs said. “We’ll be closing community centers and pools and children’s programs. All the decisions are difficult. We regret this, but right now that’s what we’re forced to do because of the budget.”

In case you heard about this story and thought, hey, what the heck, I think I will relieve myself in the rose garden at McKinley Park, you better think again. The Sacramento police are on to you:

Sacramento police Sgt. Norm Leong said park visitors will simply have to plan ahead if the bathrooms are closed. Anyone caught going to the bathroom in parks may be cited, he added.

Right, as long as nothing happens to the number of police officers patrolling these areas we should be safe from public pee’rs.

Fairytale Town celebrates 50

Folks may be surprised to learn that Fairytale Town opened its doors on August 29, 1959!

Of course you already know that…

Fairytale Town is a nonprofit family park with more than twenty three-dimensional child-size play sets based on favorite fairytales and nursery rhymes. A family of friendly animals and children’s gardens nestle in this safe and colorful place. Fairytale Town’s mission is to promote the imagination, creativity and education of children.

Yesterday they kicked off a two-week book drive.

…families bringing in a new book to Fairytale Town March 2 – March 16 will receive one free child with a paid adult admission. All books will be donated to Woodbine Elementary School here in Sacramento.

Be sure to check out their calendar as they are celebrating all year long (with a new site on the way, too!)