CIBOLO — City officials are taking measures to ensure a community space honoring a former councilman’s memory remains a place everyone can peacefully enjoy.
Noisy activities from the parking lot at Ron Pedde Memorial Community Garden, which opened in 2018 and is connected to Schlather Park, were addressed at the May 12 City Council meeting via a letter read by Mayor Stosh Boyle and written by resident Randall Hawkins, who was unable to attend due to restrictions caused by the novel coronavirus.
Hawkins has lived eight years in the Bentwood Ranch neighborhood, which the garden sits behind.
Among the incidents Hawkins said he and neighbors have noticed are car racing, vehicle and motorcycle training sessions without supervision, football practices and soccer games, and rifle-shooting lessons.
Issues of light pollution and pet owners leaving dog waste on the parking lot’s grounds were also mentioned.
The town has since resolved the illumination problem by installing shields around the light fixtures so the brightness doesn’t pervade Bentwood Ranch neighbors’ homes, City Manager Robert Herrera said in a telephone interview.
Discussion at the council meeting included installing cameras and signage in the parking lot advising pet owners to pick up after their furry friends, but Herrera said municipal funds weren’t available to put up surveillance.
Police have patrolled the park often since May. Other than traffic and loud-music complaints, officers didn’t receive reports of unusual activity, patrol Lt. Brian Nipper said in a telephone interview.
Hawkins commended the city for quickly trying to handle the situation.
“They took care of quite a few things from the get-go,” he said. “They put the shields up, and the lights are fantastic. They are maintained on a regular basis. (Police do) seem to keep people from allowing their pets to roam freely like they did before. It still happens, but you are going to get it no matter what. There (is) no stopping things like that.”
Hawkins said patience is the key.
“We realize it’s going to take time. We can’t expect everything overnight, but the (neighbors) are good with it,” he said.
Hawkins’ motivation in asking the city to address the issue at the garden’s parking lot was to preserve the memory and vision of Pedde, who served as a councilman from 2007 to 2014, and on multiple prior municipal committees.
He died in May 2016 from esophageal cancer, according to his obituary. Pedde’s goal during his tenure on council was to “connect the community to nature and preserve wildlife,” according to a plaque situated in front of the garden.
Hawkins, who twice met the councilman, wants the garden to be preserved because of the city’s potential plans for it in the future.
The memorial garden is “set in a beautiful natural area of Schlather Park,” according to the city’s website. “Currently, it is a demonstration garden maintained by the city gardener. … Beginning in 2021, garden plots will be available for seasonal rental. Until then, volunteers are always welcome to help and learn gardening.”
Those interested in volunteering at the garden, 1017 Town Creek Road, can email email@example.com, according to the website.
Cibolo officials are looking at installing sidewalks linking Schlather Park and the garden.
“(Pedde) was greatly into the park system, and that’s why I said don’t let his memory fade away because it’s not being used for what he would have done with that garden,” he said.
Hawkins noted he reported the disruptive behavior to Cibolo police immediately after it began two years ago, though town officials claimed at the May 12 meeting there weren’t any such accounts.
They later confirmed the calls were routed to Schertz’s dispatch unit, as all nonemergency items are sent there. Also, his use of the garden’s address, rather than his residence, made finding the complaints difficult.
Hawkins said the Police Department apologized for the mix-up.
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