See a video of the RMA meeting (1 hour, 6 minutes)
The Rancho Murieta Association board Tuesday night announced changes in the community’s July 4 parade, eliminating collector cars, water balloons and water guns from the annual event on Murieta Parkway.
Director Alex Bauer, chair of the Recreation Committee, said the parade is intended for residents in golf carts or on foot or bicycles. He cited the need for fun and safety, adding, “We’re kind of streamlining the parade.”
“The parade is part of a small-town feel that makes Murieta a special place,” he said of the gathering, which marks its 35th anniversary this year. “Over the years, the parade has grown to be much bigger than what it originally was intended.”
He announced several changes in brief. Wednesday afternoon, Danise Hetland, the RMA’s assistant general manager, offered written rules for the parade:
Candy is the only thing that may be tossed by parade participants to the parade spectators. No water guns, water balloons, etc. will be allowed. No super balls or anything other than candy will be allowed to be tossed to the spectators.
Parade participants must be residents. Only individuals and local non-profit groups may participate. No commercial golf carts, walkers or bicyclists.
Only golf carts, walkers, bicyclists, children in wagons or children’s cars will be allowed. No vehicles are allowed, except for Little League All Stars, the veterans vehicle, fire and ambulance vehicles, police vehicles and such.
Asked why the change was being made, Hetland responded in an email, “RMA has received complaints from residents who have been hit by water balloons and water guns, resulting in damage to cameras, eyeglasses and people being hit in the face. We’ve also received complaints about the length of the parade and the many undecorated vehicles. The Recreation Committee has put the rules in place in an effort to ensure a fun, safe, enjoyable day for all RMA residents and their guests.”
The announcement wasn’t listed on Tuesday’s meeting agenda, nor had the changes been discussed at prior public board meetings. Rumors about changes had surfaced on social media.
At the meeting, directors asked how staff planned to notify past participants about these changes.
Hetland said RMA staff has met with local car clubs already, and they’re counting on the media to help get the word out.
General Manager Greg Vorster said the Murieta Corvettes Club said members were concerned about kids on the parade route chasing candy and running in front of the cars. They were already considering pulling out of the parade, he said.
President Bob Lucas asked staff to explain concerns with last year’s parade, when there were many cars and, he suggested, many of them weren’t even residents.
Hetland said 40 percent of last year’s parade was made up of undecorated cars.
Pump track site could be a ball field
The board will continue its deliberations about how to use the former bicycle pump track site at Riverview Park on the South.
Tuesday night, the board discussed using the site for a grassy field for Little League, soccer and general play. Last month the board floated the idea of turning the land into a dog park. (An online poll by RM.com last month found 68 percent in favor of the idea.)
General Manager Greg Vorster said Little League representatives have new field equipment that has to be moved when they lose the use of Anderson Field, on Cantova Way, and that equipment could be relocated to the pump-track site. The field would be dedicated to baseball for small children, he said.
The price difference between the two options is about $4,500, Vorster said, which is the cost of fencing the dog park. Either use would require ongoing irrigation, fertilization and mowing, he said.
Vorster said the pump track site is about 32,000 square feet, or almost three-quarters of an acre. The North dog park, at Stonehouse Park, is about 31,000 square feet, he said.
The Recreation Committee will explore the possibilities in advance of the May meeting.
County comments on Greens Park
The county has offered comments on the proposed Greens Park on the South, General Manager Greg Vorster said, and the contractor is responding to the county. Vorster said he still hopes to get the permit for the work by the end of April.
Neighbor Mark Pecotich, who’s also president of the Community Services District board, asked whether there would be a ceremony to mark the start of work. He pointed out the project has been hanging around for more than a decade.
In other business...
- Greenfield Communications didn’t have a representative at the meeting, but President Bob Lucas said he was told before the meeting that Greenfield has set a May 12 deadline to finish filling holes dug in lawns for the fiber network installation.
- Greg Vorster, general manager, said fencing for two pickleball courts has been installed at Stonehouse Park. Maintenance Manager Rod Hart said once the weather warms a bit, RMA will be able to treat the courts' surface and paint and stripe the area.
- Hart said the RMA is considering replacing the fountain at Guadalupe Lake with a pump that’s more efficient and easier to maintain. The cost would be $5,000 or $6,000, he said. Hart said he wants to meet first with people around the lake, who pay an assessment to cover the cost of electricity.
- Neighbor Brian Rosebrock asked the board whether it’s proper to allow an Elk Grove police sergeant to drive his service motorcycle through the North Gate. Two directors, Tim Maybee and President Bob Lucas, said it has been an RMA policy to allow police and other first responders to keep their service vehicles close at hand.