The City of Keyes held a town hall meeting Wednesday evening at the Keyes Community Center to address a variety of concerns that range from public safety to family activities.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson and Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa were in attendance as well as representatives from Public Works, Code Enforcement and Parks and Recreation. Roughly 100 members of the community attended the meeting to address the board with comments and concerns.
“We’ve had the [Municipal Advisory Committee] for quite a while now,” Dave Landers, founder of the Keyes MAC in 1991, said. “Some people came to me with concerns—so I went to Vito and we conjured up this town hall meeting.”
A major topic of discussion was regarding the park that the community once had.
“Our park was tore down about five years ago to redo roads and [we] were told it would be rebuilt,” Jeff Greener, Keyes community member, said. “It had bathrooms, water fountains, lights, a snack bar, horseshoe pits... and now it’s just a baseball field. I’d like to see the park back up and running so the kids have a place to play.”
Other concerns from the community were noise complaints from neighboring house parties, trash and garbage in alley ways and backyards, graffiti throughout the town and the desire for sidewalks in the community.
“When things were bad we were cutting a dollar knowing it would eventually cost us $1.25,” Chiesa said. “But when you don’t have a dollar in your hand you have to cut something.”
Chiesa explained that the park budget was reduced by 60 percent in two years.
“The good news is we are seeing the organization rebuilding laterally and we are rebuilding with priorities,” Chiesa said. “This board, myself and members have all agreed that public safety is the number one priority.”
Christianson reassured the community that the sheriff’s department was able to make it through the economic chaos and that they will continue to hire and train the best to protect the public.
“We’re hiring again, restoring levels of service and staffing…and in the meantime we will do the best with the very resources we have. Our goal, long term, is to put a community deputy back in every unincorporated community in the county.”
Many community members felt, however, that the only answers they received from the meeting were specifically addressing long term goals.
“The meeting had a good turnout, but it didn’t answer a lot of the questions people wanted to hear,” Greener said. “It was mainly long term plans and not plans for right now. We have people who are scared to leave their house and want a plan to help with crime. All in all it was still good for the community to have their voice heard; we will try to do this again.”