LAFAYETTE -- Officials will seek public input about fighting illegal fires in Lafayette Community Park following a blaze that torched a tree last month.
Park, Trails & Recreation commissioners will hold an informal forum next spring with neighbors, police, firemen and other city officials to address a variety of problems plaguing the park including pollution and litter.
They also got a clearer picture this week of why staffers placed the remains of a scorched tree into Las Trampas Creek -- a habitat of the threatened California red-legged frog -- following a July 14 fire.
That action outraged residents, who took their complaints to the city council and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Lafayette Parks, Trails & Recreation Department director Jennifer Russell told commissioners that a park maintenance worker felt responsible for cleaning up the debris left behind from the buckeye destroyed in the fire. He thought it was OK to add the burned logs to a pile of wood that collects in the creek, Russell said.
She relayed the message that the creek was not the right place to dispose of the debris, and to reach out to Public Works workers for help with such disposals in the future. The logs are still in the creek while the city waits for direction from the water board for their removal.
Russell also outlined steps her department is taking to understand and improve creek health.
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The commission also addressed what residents have said is a trash problem at the park, and suggested ideas for cleaning up the park as well as making areas popular with partying teens less accessible through the use of cameras and fences.
"I think the next step is we probably should get the city council to agree to some kind of patrol of the park during off hours, at least during the summer months," Russell said.
However, a resident refuted a commissioner's observation that the creek is relatively trash-free. "It's really horrifying what's down there," she said, noting that during a recent walk of the creek she saw discarded carpets and other trash. She also questioned why the city didn't immediately notify neighbors about the fire.