Residents living near Teglia’s Paradise Park said there are growing concerns with the area. Seniors said they are afraid of being there to attend to garden plots, visit the park’s facility frequently used by seniors and even walk around the ponds.
Overgrown and dense vegetation dominate the park’s landscape – to the point where it was blocking foot and wheelchair access on sidewalks.
Kristine and Nick Lee said they spent $500 of their own money to buy landscaping equipment to reduce overgrown vegetation. They have taken it upon themselves to address what they said was neglect by the city.
“It’s a progression of degradation of the quality of the maintenance in the park,” Nick said.
They’ve trimmed trees and reduced other vegetation. They’ve also taken to social media to document their efforts – and express dissatisfaction at city officials, including Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve the Council member Oscar Delgado.
“My husband just turned 69 & he thought he would be dead before anyone does anything so we did it,” Kristine posted on Twitter last week about a strip of sidewalk now clear of vegetation. “Now parents & kids can walk on the sidewalk.”
That sidewalk is on Elementary Drive and leads from El Rancho Drive to Bernice Matthews Elementary school.
They first started picking up garbage at the park. They stopped that after finding it was a futile effort and focused on the vegetation instead. The Lees said trimming trees and vegetation increases visibility making it more difficult to hide trash and harder for people experiencing homelessness to camp and get victimized.
Reno officials said they are doing the best they can. They said all city parks lack necessary resources.
“It is a challenge to be able to maintain the parks to a standard that we would like. So our 22 park maintenance workers basically on average have to deal with 33 football fields a day,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jaime Schroeder.
“I think the challenge can be a perception on [when a] park maintainer went out it was nice and clean at 10 o’clock in the morning, but by the time someone got there at two o’clock … it looks like our maintainer hasn’t been there.”
City officials said noxious and invasive weeds are found at the park, including leafy spurge, poison hemlock, tall whitetop and puncture vine.
“Although they’re not defined as a Nevada noxious weed, coyote willow and Tree of Heaven are also invasive (or unwanted) to us at Paradise Park,” said city spokesperson Cassie Harris. “There are plenty of other weeds present that are unwanted at that site, just not classified as noxious by Department of Agriculture standard.”
Schroeder said limited staff means vegetation is only scheduled to be treated twice a year unless people call in complaints to Reno Direct: 775-334-4636.
The Lees said communication from the city would be helpful.
A city staff member was seen Tuesday picking up garbage around the park. His truck bed was full.
“You need a bigger truck,” Nick told him.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.