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Dunne Park renovations include new picnic tables

The City of Hollister will renovate Dunne Park by adding new picnic and ping-pong tables.
Photo by Carmel de Bertaut.

On May 21 the Hollister City Council voted 4-1 to approve the renovation of the picnic area of Dunne Park on West Street between Sixth and Seventh Street.

Thirty-thousand dollars in funds will be taken from the city’s parks fund for the improvements. Council members agreed the park would benefit from new picnic tables in the BBQ area and ping pong tables to enrich the experience of park visitors. Dunne Park currently has tennis courts, a softball field, and a clubhouse that can be used by groups upon request and reservation.

According to Management Service Director Mike Chambless, the park sees 50 to 100 visitors a day and the council hopes improvements will make the park more enjoyable and increase the number of daily visitors.

There is a homeless population that uses the park daily and there is no research on how this will impact them.

Currently, San Benito County is home to at least 527 homeless people, according to Enrique Arreola with the county’s Health and Human Services Department. There is no estimate of the number of homeless that use Dunne Park. A shuttle runs through Hollister each evening to pick up homeless and take them to the shelter, known as the HOME Resource Center, on San Felipe Road. Dunne Park is one of the pick-up spots. Somewhere around 40-50 people use the shelter on any given night varying with weather, but the shelter has 80 beds according to Arreola.

Mayor Ignacio Velazquez voted against the project, believing that it is a “band aid”. He said he did not think there was enough clarity about the project given at the meeting and thinks the funds should be spent on maintenance of what is already there. The mayor also said that while residents do use the tennis courts, he is not convinced they would use ping-pong tables.

“This is a conversation to make people feel good, we are painting over something," Velazquez said, adding that he wants to clean up the problems that exist now.

On June 1, several Hollister residents in the playground area of the park spoke with BenitoLink and said they were unaware of the planned upgrades and thought improvements would be a good thing. One park visitor echoed Mayor Velazquez and said they'd like to see the city use the money to keep the park clean.

Chambless stated work should begin at the end of summer, as the city is waiting for delivery of tables. He said they are being made and shipped from Southern California. He also stated other renovation plans for the park from the capital improvement plan (CIP) would go to council on June 18th.

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Carmeldb's picture
Carmel de Bertaut (Carmeldb)

I have a BA in Natural Science, a minor in environmental studies and an AA in communications studies. I have worked as an ecologist and as a writer.


Submitted by Sharlene Van Rooy (frasha) on

Use the $30,000 to build a tasteful wrought-iron fence around the north-east quarter of the park. Clean up the outside of the Adobe walls so they don't stink anymore, bomb the barbecue area and start over. Nothing like cooking your meal on something that is used for a restroom. Rent the two spaces out to the public and issue a key to get inside the fenced area.

Move the bus stop for the homeless to another park. Residents around Dunne Park have done their fare share of hosting the homeless in their neighborhood.

Well, we should do all three - improve the park, clean up what's there, and spend money on keeping it a healthy place for the community.  The residents around Dunne Park are taking the brunt of the neighborhood homeless impacts in the city and therefore they should receive a proportional amount of help.

I do not live near there, but a certain mount of fairness is required.  The city is going to make a substantial investment and that investment, and the neighborhood, deserve protection.  That fact that many locals do participate in a community movement to fix the problems is important.

The county recently spent a lot of money to pay for fixes to prevent more flooding that impacted far fewer people, shouldn't we fix the damage caused by the flood of homeless?  Hollister should not become an "every man for himself" city - not with out tax rates!

There is no near term solution to the homeless problem in this part of California, if you live there you can't wait this out for a perfect solution.

Marty Richman


Submitted by Robert Gilchrist Huenemann (bobgh) on

You think the county just spent a lot of money for a few people on Lover's Lane? Pay attention. There will be a new dam on Pacheco Pass that will cost a Billion dollars. That's Billion with a B. Of course it won't just help a few people on Lover's Lane. It will be good for wildlife, too. That should be worth a Billion dollars, right? How much will that raise your water bill? Stay tuned..........

Submitted by (Frank Ramsey) on

Great point

Submitted by Valerie Egland (valerie egland) on

In my opinion, there should never be a homeless pick-up point at a park, anywhere.  The pick -up points need to be in areas like County Admin, or the county court house.  Dunne Park has been abused, and the public trust lost while the city has neglected it's duty to protect public spaces where our children and families find respite.

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