Let’s go to a picnic at the new Mesa Riverview Park.
Have you ever imagined a new and beautiful park, a lake view, shade, play area, friendly park workers to direct you, and a picnic table reserved especially for you? All you had to do was call the city of Mesa, give them your available date and time and credit card number, and that special picnic space was guaranteed, ready and waiting.
If only it was that simple.
When I heard about the new Riverview Park in Mesa, I thought it would be the perfect meeting location for a social gathering for my clients. Reservations were made three weeks prior and I was comfortable knowing that I had a space. We were expecting a large turnout, including small children and babies.
When I arrived 30 minutes early on the day of my scheduled event, I found another family set up and in full swing of their own party. I could see that they were unaware of our reservation and unprepared to leave in the 30-minute timeframe. An attempt was made to contact a park worker for assistance who stated that he was, “new and three days on the job.” He said he wasn’t sure what to do. Another attempt to contact the number on my reservation slip which offered assistance on weeknights and weekends, only led to a recorded message that no one was available.
I was unable to negotiate the picnic space with the family. They simply refused to leave stating that nothing was posted in regards to a reservation. They demanded some evidence so I showed them the reservation slip. That was all I had. They were frustrated that nothing was posted beforehand. I could sympathize with their anger and frustration. However, there would be no compromise. They refused to leave. The discussion became heated and I was forced to call the Mesa Police Department.
Due to police presence including four uniformed offices and a squad car parked on the grass right next to our ramada, our party was a disaster. Having to explain why the police were there was uncomfortable and embarrassing. As our guests arrived, I had to redirect them to another area until the matter was resolved. We were unable to start on time, an hour later than scheduled and many of our families chose to leave.
My question is, why can’t the city of Mesa follow in the steps of other cities like Gilbert, Phoenix, Tempe etc., and simply post a sign alerting people that a space has been reserved? Why should Mesa taxpayers have to endure the cost of police officers being dispatched to a situation that could be easily remedied by simply posting a sign?
I find no excuse for the scene that occurred. The city of Mesa should be embarrassed to have overlooked something so simple as a reservations policy and the proper posting for its park guests. I paid a fee of $20 per hour for a reservation of a park space that in the end, cost everyone much more.