Recently-built East Central Fresno park causing major headaches, neighbors say

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
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A park in East Central Fresno, built less than six months ago, is already causing major headaches, according to nearby neighbors.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A park in East Central Fresno, built less than six months ago, is already causing major headaches, according to nearby neighbors.

Just half a year ago, the park was a dirt lot, and people around there say they were happy to see it built in their community. But now some neighbors are singing a different tune.

For Parks Director Manuel Mollinedo, Martin Ray Reilly Park is a jewel in a part of our city that needs more attention.

"It's one of the nicer splash pads that we have in our park system, and this summer once we fire it up it's just going to really draw even more children out there," said Mollinedo.

But for some neighbors along the east side of the lot, a different story. One that's full of trash, noise and a lot of unwanted company. That's according to one woman who didn't want us to show her face.

"They put the boom box so loud, I felt my house shaking; it shakes with the loud noise. How can people get their sleep and go to work the next day?" she said.

Varoujan Kalinian lives right across from the park's east entrance. He says after getting in a confrontation with park goers last week, someone killed then burned his cat on a park grill.

"It didn't smell like meat. It didn't smell like beef or pork or anything like that. It smelled extremely bad like burning hair," said Kalinian.

He's since turned to the police for help, but people who frequent the park say there's no way a crime that awful could've happened on a weekend night.

"If that would've happened in this park, somebody would've said something; there was a lot of people here that night," said transient Alan Lulay.

Councilman Clint Olivier gave us this statement about Kalinian's concerns: "Anytime a neighbor is unhappy with the city of Fresno I do what I can to make it right. I have talked with Mr. Kalinian about his concerns and my office is taking them to the city manager. We will keep him updated regarding any developments at Martin Ray Reilly Park."

Despite concerns by nearby neighbors, the parks department says hundreds of people are taking advantage of the new community park every weekend.

"I'm pleased to see that park is attracting so many people. It's in a very underserved community, and I think it's really serving its purpose. But we also want to be good neighbors and we want to work with the community," said Mollinedo.

The parks department said they're planning to work with neighbors about parking concerns in front of their homes to decrease traffic in the area.