Source: Here’s a good place for a fence

STANTON CENTRAL PARK is ringed with fences (Tribune photo).

The nation’s attention has been focused on a wall or fence on the U.S.-Mexico border, but there are other barrier issues that might have a more local application.

Garden Grove and Westminster are both in the process of surveying residents for their ideas about improving and perhaps expanding parks in their communities. A state bond issue passed by voters last year could offer a unique opportunity to get more and better recreational space.

One simple idea occurred to us, and though it’s not sexy, it might have some far-reaching positive effects and that’s a fence.

We are now regular visitors to the Stanton Central Park on Western Avenue. It’s quite frankly the nicest park in the area, with many fine amenities including tennis courts, a large modern children’s play area, a splash pad and skateboard park, community buildings and sports fields.

Ringing the whole 11.5-acre park are steel fences (see above). As we walk our dogs through the park we see no graffiti, almost no litter and no homeless or rowdy people. Compare that to Garden Grove Park, for instance, which has a modicum of those disincentives to pleasant use.

SCP has two gates and is staffed most of the week with employees.  The park is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Office hours are 1-8 p.m. during the week and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.

The fences are tall enough to discourage all but the most acrobatic intruders and the presence of city workers makes for what seems to be a cleaner and safer environment.

Additionally, they keep impetuous pets and kids from running into traffic on busy Western Avenue.

We hope many great things can come to local parks. It might also be smart to keep those great things cleaner and safer by giving them some protection which we hope won’t cost billions of dollars.

West Side Story: Where’s the land?

The Tribune’s article on the Valley View Business Corridor report from the Urban Land Institute kicked up a lot of comments on social media.

There were many opinions offered and most of them pushed back against the report’s argument that restaurants and stores were discouraged from locating in West Garden Grove because  – arguably – West Garden Grove residents didn’t patronize existing businesses, so why should new operators come in?

FOR LEASE sign at a vacant commercial building on Valley View Street in West Garden Grove (OC Tribune).

Many respondents on Facebook and in The Tribune’s comments section replied that since there wasn’t much in the way of good eateries and stores on Valley View, why not go out of town to do business?

There’s probably some sense to both positions, but there’s another issue that’s getting less attention, and that’s depth. The commercial zones along Valley View are relatively narrow from curb line to the back of the zone/property line.

Bigger projects require bigger parking lots. A larger shopping area where residents might like a major retailer with some nice restaurants in front doesn’t seem to exist in that area.

Most of the West Grove commercial area backs up snugly to residential tracts. The last big chunk of land available – if memory serves – in the area was at the northeast corner of Chapman Avenue and Valley View and it was redeveloped with a LA Fitness gym, a drug store and an Alzheimer facility, replacing a closed supermarket and a gas station.

Would West Grovers patronize a center with, say, a Target (a firm which is experimenting with a smaller format) and an Olive Garden or Claim Jumper? We believe they would.

But the question remains: where would you put them?

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