Community Gardens Named after Rusty Areias; All-Inclusive Playground Grants Awarded

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The community gardens project at the County’s Martial Cottle Park has an official name, thanks to unanimous action by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors taken on Tuesday, August 14. 

The name “Rusty Areias Community Gardens” was authorized by the Board to honor the man who helped preserve the land as a park for future generations. Areias was Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation from 1998 to 2001, and was a member of the State Assembly from 1982 to 1994. 

“Naming the community gardens at Martial Cottle Park in Rusty’s honor is a fitting tribute to the efforts he undertook as State Parks Director that guaranteed the land would be saved,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, who made the request to name the gardens.  

Martial Cottle Park in San Jose was the result of a generous gift of Walter Lester, a descendant of Edward Cottle, who established the land as a farm in 1854. In the 1990s, Mr. Lester was faced with a very large inheritance tax bill from the IRS due to the death of his sister. To pay, he would have to sell all or most of the land. 

At that point, Parks Director Rusty Areias stepped in and secured $4 million in funding and helped with the agreement to preserve the land from development. Ownership of the 287-acre property was transferred to the County and State for use as a farm park, with educational programs, a walking trail and community gardens. 

Also on Tuesday, the Board awarded $2 million in All-Inclusive Playground Grants to projects in four cities.  The grants are given to projects that are designed to make play accessible for all families, including children and parents with disabilities. 

The grants were awarded to projects in the Santa Clara Unified School District, the Franklin-McKinley School District, and the Cities of Milpitas and Campbell.