Friday, June 1, 2012

Three Big Issues with Newman Park

There are three important issues currently with Newman Park that you need to know about.

First, as many of you will begin noticing today, two of the four slides on the playground have been removed. This was the result of jagged holes found on the slides that could be dangerous to the children using them. A  damaged portion on a third slide was replaced with a spare part. Replacement slides have been ordered but will take up to 6 to 8 weeks to be delivered. Rep. Byrd’s office is looking to see whether there is money in the City budget for a new playground. There may not be at this time.

You may also notice that some areas of  the park turf are getting browner especially since we have all become accustomed to the lush green grass this year. The City of El Paso’s General Services Department has had to cut back on irrigation as a special request from the El Paso Water Utilities to parks, schools and Ft. Bliss. On behalf of Mr. Ed Archuleta, CEO and President of PSB/EPWU, Mr. Martin Bartlett sent Newmanistas this message:

“As temperatures rise, so does the demand for water. In a typical year, El Paso Water Utilities is able to rely on river water to help meet the increased demand. However, a lack of water in the Rio Grande in May forced EPWU to shut down treatment of river water at two of its plants and created a period of critical water conservation for customers – including city parks.

“At the request of EPWU, the City of El Paso’s General Services Department has voluntarily undertaken a city-wide, three-week reduction in irrigation of parks. Their plan includes a special focus on parks in Downtown, Central El Paso, and the Near Westside. Those parts of town typically rely most heavily on river water during the hot months. Since there has been no water in the river, that reduction has been key to helping avoid mandatory watering restrictions.

“The department has proven they are a willing partner with EPWU in conserving our natural resources and so has the Newman Park Neighborhood Association. We’re especially thankful for your support because the need to conserve will continue. While we expect to have water from Elephant Butte Lake in the river soon, it will be less than we get in a typically year. Adopting the Less is New More lifestyle isn’t just about conserving water in the short term; it’s also about living more responsibly in the Chihuahuan Desert because the less we use today, the more we’ll have tomorrow.”

Mr. Stuart Ed of our City’s General Services (the department that maintains and has been responsible for our beautiful park) explained that last week there was no irrigation, this week there will be a 75% reduction and next week a 50% reduction. In an email he wrote: “We will certainly have our crews review the watering and insure there is no permanent loss of turf.  We will keep a close eye on it.”

Do check out your water utility’s Less Is the New More program and get involved. Like and follow EPWU’s Facebook page. Finally, if you twitter and tweet, follow EPWU on Twitter.  Plan now to attend a free Rainwater Harvesting talk on Saturday, June 9 at 10 a.m. at the Museum of Archaeology. (Details)

Finally, General Services today also removed the dead Aleppo Pine on the corner of Richmond and Alabama. It was one of our larger trees that never made it back after last year’s record freeze and record heat. The good news is that we continue to get new trees in the park. Soon there will be a beautiful new Newman Park sign on that same corner where the pine was.

Remember – circle your calendars for our membership extravaganza on Saturday, June 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the home of Orlando and Esther Arriola, 2630 Louisville. Hamburgers, hot dogs, prizes, chalk drawing, storytelling and the magical music of Ceiba! This will be a special time for us to rub shoulders and get to know neighbors and make new friends.

Membership is just $15 per household or $50 for a business which also pays for year round business card advertising online.  A very convenient way to join or renew your membership is by going to our blog. You will see a yellow DONATE button in the upper right hand corner. Click on it and you will be directed to our secure PayPal location. Just put “membership” in the purpose field and fill out the rest of the form. You can also mail a check made out to NPNA to Robert Taylor, 2809 Richmond Avenue, El Paso, TX 79930.

Finally, what happens at our parks, recreational and senior centers are important to all of us. Mark your calendars for important meetings regarding updating the City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

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