I was thinking a lot about this and right now Hollister and San Benito County have the opportunity of a lifetime in regards to parks, and designating land for park use.
I live in the area of Park Hill and recently the city demolished the old planning building and a couple of other outbuildings from when it was a CDF fire station. The city has also done a lot of other improvements to Vista Park Hill, including the new playground, new restroom, fixing all the sprinklers on the ball field, and reconstructing a number of the benches and picnic tables.
They have cleaned up the facility well, including the homeless encampment in the “bowl” on the backside of the hill. The Community Garden group, and Growing Hearts have transformed the area into one of natural beauty and a thriving area of life. There has also been a frisbee golf course installed on the hill. In short it has become a wonderful park.
On Feb. 21, a group of us spoke to the mayor and city council about designating all of the city land up there parkland. The designation would allow the community garden to expand, and the natural beauty of the area to be enjoyed further by the community of Hollister, and would basically cost the city nothing. Like they say, the only people who don’t like Park Hill have never been to Park Hill.
If you want to lower your stress level, believe that there can be a world after COVID, and in general enjoy your life more, drive up Hill Street, (I wouldn’t recommend walking your first time, it’s a steep hill), park near the playground and walk out on the ball field by the short fence. The view of the Cienega hills and Fremont Peak are spectacular.
Continue down the fence line and walk up the dirt path to the hill behind the water tower to the survey marker and get a 360 degree view of the area. You can almost see Gilroy on a clear day. Get up early and watch the sunrise over the three sisters, or get up even earlier and watch the moon set toward the west.
Imagine parking at the new county river park, walking the river bed, and the pathway to Nash Road, turn right to West Street and head toward the hill- there are already lighted crossings at West and Monterey streets. Then, from the old bus stop at Third and West streets you could build a trail up the side of the hill, and then walk around the field and see the views, walk off the gravel path off the north side of the hill, walk around the Allendale subdivision, down the trail to the old bus stop across from the courthouse on Third Street, down Monterey Road to Nash Road, turn left past the high school, and down San Benito Street back to the River Parkway and make a 7-mile loop. You could place some mile markers along the sidewalks and color code the trail so it is easy to follow. Possibly place some markers to see some of the old Victorian homes along the way.
If the city would get with it and give San Benito High School the block of Nash Road between Monterey and West streets, you could designate a pedestrian crossing at each end to make the trail more accessible and safer.
People always talk a good game when it comes to the environment, nature, parkland, exercise and mental health. Well, here is your chance to put your money where your mouth is. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, it won’t cost much, and all the pieces are in place. It just takes the will of the Hollister mayor and council to achieve it.
Respectfully submitted, Randy Logue