Clean-up Clubhouse at Sumner, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I live in Aptos near Clubhouse Drive and Sumner Avenue. I've been walking from Cliff Drive and Sumner to Seascape and Sumner on a daily basis now for the past two years. During that time, I have not seen anyone maintain the land adjacent to Sumner and along the railroad tracks. The six to ten foot weeds, dead trees and fallen limbs have so overrun the area – parts smell of something rotting underneath all the foliage -- that the area along Sumner reserved for parking, bicycles and walkers is unusable in spots. This lack of maintenance has become a safety and health hazard. Who is responsible for this area of land along the tracks and adjacent to Sumner, and how can we get the area cleaned up? Rick Duquette, Aptos A: Sources tell Street Smarts that the area you're concerned with is not in the rail right-of-way and therefore will not be cleaned up as part of the rail purchase. The land appears to fall within county jurisdiction but since there are no sidewalks there, county public works can't go in to clean it up. However, there is one option: a community clean-up. “A group or member of the public can get the authority to clean-up and/maintain an island or alongside a road,” said Supervisor Ellen Pirie. “In fact, the Rio del Mar Improvement Association does a lot of street beautification in the area. Perhaps they would be willing to add this piece to those they are already working on.” If the property is indeed county-owned, public works generally is “delighted to authorize private parties to maintain areas that DPW can't reasonably expect to get to,” Pirie said. “Their only concern is that it be done safely and that the group have insurance.  Since there is traffic very close to these work areas, those are reasonable concerns.” Pirie “would be happy to work” with anyone interested in trying to organize a community clean-up there. Contact her office at (831) 454-2200 or email her at
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