Parks were top of mind at Hanford City Council’s Tuesday meeting, with many residents commenting on the future of one park, while the City aimed to reduce crime in another.
The regular council meeting was preceded by a study session covering what to do with an 18-acre parcel of undeveloped land next to Hidden Valley Park. Most of the public comments made during the meeting were residents asking the council to use the land to expand the park.
The property is currently in surplus and has been earmarked for affordable housing development, though some residents have been against the plan for years. Resident Mark Pratter showed an article outlining conflict over the property dating back to the 1950s.
The Council’s study session also included suggestions to develop part of the land as a park expansion, and the rest as housing.
“I think it’s important you listen to the community, your constituents … and they have said so many times in so many ways to develop 18 acres (into a park),” said resident Lou Martinez. “I ask you as a council to put it to the vote of the people, let the people decide, let us decide what to do with those 18 acres.”
The Council also gave direction to staff on how the Parks and Facilities department and Hanford Police should work to decrease illegal or undesirable activities under the arbor at Lacey Park.
Park Resource Officer Domingo Bursiaga said the parks, particularly Lacey Park, often see individuals who loiter under the arbors and frequently participate in drug activities. Those individuals drive families and other residents away from using the park, he said.
Despite attempts to warn, ticket, arrest and suspend access to the park for those individuals, many of them return, Bursiaga said.
Parks and Facilities Director Brad Albert, upon recommendation of the Parks and Recreation