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Park use complaint followed up

A citizen complaint lodged in February about out-of-towners using Berry Grove Park for soccer practice was answered in a report issued last week to the City Council by City Manager Toby Wells.

Lights in the park will be turned off nightly at 10 p.m. to limit playing into hours most people go to sleep and police patrols will be ramped up to help clear the park of users who stay past park closure.

In February Wes Stamper complained to the council that "Time and time again I see outside sports teams from neighboring cities practicing on our parks and to me that's not fair to our local organizations that pay for those fees to maintain our parks."

His complaints were similar to those of Lawrence Yohana last month about those living outside of Ceres using the basketball court at Ryno Park.

Stamper told city staff members that his chief concern with the soccer practices at Berry Grove stems from the adult teams who play into the night, sometimes until 11 p.m. Because Berry Grove is only one of four parks in Ceres with lights, it is a highly desirable area to hold practices.

Wells said the city has no way of knowing if park users are Ceres residents and "is nearly impossible to track or enforce. Simply put, the city maintains open green space areas for all to enjoy, primarily our residents, but that anyone can frequent our parks as long as they are respecting the rules of the park."

Green spaces are claimed by first come, first served, he said.

Stamper also expressed concern over the number of cars who speed down Calcagno, the street on which he resides, and wondered if the city ever considered placement of a stop sign on the street. Wells said the city last studied speeding issues on Calcagno in 2003. The volume and speeds did not warrant a stop sign, he said. Wells wrote to the council: "There have not been any appreciable changes in growth to the area, so it is unlikely to have significant changes in traffic volumes or speeds. However, Engineering will monitor and discuss with the Police Department after their patrols in the area to see if a new traffic study is warranted in the area."