Tom Sawyering on Vintage Parkway

Thank you note from the Vintage Parkway Beautificatin Project

Vintage Parkway in Oakley is home to three different housing developments. I live in the one called California Isle. The homeowners’ association dictates the colors you can paint your house and insists that your front yard has to be made up of at least 50% grass, which is plainly ridiculous in California since it requires the use of sprinklers all but about 4 months of the year. If it were up to me, I’d put drought-tolerant plants in the front and reduce the water bill, but no one asked me. One person on a neighboring street actually laid down AstroTurf.

Anyway, in the year since we moved in, we haven’t seen the homeowner’s association do much besides double the number of speed bumps. Since there were rather too many of those anyway, it’s a very irritating development. I hadn’t actually noticed that anyone was speeding along Walnut Meadows Road before, though no matter how slowly you drive, you’re likely to have to stop for the kids playing basketball in the street. (I guess the park at Vintage Elementary is too far away, though even I can walk there.)

The folks on the Delta side of Vintage Parkway don’t have a homeowners association, as I learned when I showed up on September 8th for the Vintage Parkway Beautification event. The fence along Vintage, and also along Big Break Road, has been falling into disrepair. It makes the neighborhood look disreputable.

Once she realized just how bad things had gotten, long-time resident Karen Harrington decided to take matters into her own hands and enlist the neighbors to clean up the trash, repair the broken boards, and paint the fences. There have been several of these events to date, and the City of Oakley has gotten involved. They invited the Chamber of Commerce to participate and I decided to go along and find out what was what.There I met Karen and her husband Cliff and learned more about their initiative.

Karen Harrington, who has lived in this development since it was built in the 1980s and started the beautification initiative. Photo from the City of Oakley Facebook page, because I forgot to put the card in my camera, even though I brought it.

I hadn’t really been intending to paint on account of problems I’ve been having with my right shoulder and arm, but I did actually spend an hour brushing off and painting the trim areas around a section of fence a few yards long. By the time I finished that, my arm was worn out and other people had taken all the paint rollers and the paint tub, so it seemed like a good time to knock off.

According to the nice thank-you note sent to the Chamber of Commerce, there were 72 volunteers and we went through 90 gallons of paint. That was just for part of the fence. The wood is so dry that it sucks paint up, and it’s not easy to cover with a brush or roller. The city had a sprayer out on Big Break Road, but with so many gaps in the fence, you have to check with the residents to make sure you won’t be splattering anything on the other side with your sprayer.

Thank you note from the Vintage Parkway Beautificatin Project
Thank-you note from the Vintage Parkway Beautification project to the Oakley Chamber of Commerce.

See the city photo gallery on Facebook for more pictures, including before and after shots of the fence.

There’s still plenty of painting left to do, so I’m sure we’ll be having more such events in the future.

WordPress fangirl, ghostwriter, linguistic alchemist, podcast consultant, and accidental vapor advocate. Married with 2 cats.

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