BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — John Tomasello would love to play with his dog at James Kenney Park in Berkeley but that’s not happening today.
The park was fenced off during the winter when the ground became too muddy. It never reopened and signs on the fence say it won’t any time soon because “federally and state protected wildlife is nesting in the area.”
“If there is an endangered species, I think it’s incumbent on us to think about how to protect and foster the young of that and ensure that they can reproduce,” says Berkeley resident Bryan Smith.
Still, we don’t actually know what’s there because, for three days, the city has refused to talk about what’s happening at the park. The word is, a kite may have nested in the trees above it and there’s a fear that mowing the lawns could disturb the bird. But the ball field has been mowed and baseball games are still allowed there. It’s got people wondering if the rest of the park really needs to be closed.
According to the sign, the park will remain closed, and the lawn won’t be mowed until sometime in mid-June.
“We could probably do both — take care of the birds AND the people,” says neighbor John Tomasello. “And I don’t think they’re making much of an effort in that direction.”
“These things have evolved over millions of years to be able to tolerate all kinds of things,” says Smith, adding with a laugh,“If they’ve decided to come here to nest they’re probably OK with people playing baseball and mowing lawns.”
No one knows if Berkeley was required to do this or did it on their own. The funny thing is, those who love this quirky city probably won’t care. They seem to like living in a place that would close a park rather than upset the birds in the trees.
Is this just Berkeley being Berkeley?
“Maybe, and it’s OK,” says Tomasello. “I love Berkeley!”