Almanac

News - June 15, 2011

City gets ready to bargain for Flood Park

by Sandy Brundage

As Menlo Park prepares to start negotiating to take over Flood Park, residents called a June 13 meeting to figure out how to help.

Faced with needing to cut 10 percent from its operating budget, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors recommended permanently shutting down the 21-acre park, located at 215 Bay Road, which costs a minimum $205,000 annually. Right now the park is closed until Sept. 30, while the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission installs a water pipeline. When open, the park receives an estimated 75,000 visitors a year, according to county data.

The county has asked Menlo Park to consider taking over park operations. A staff report for the City Council meeting on June 14 indicates Menlo Park intends to ask the county to help cover maintenance and capital improvement costs.

A survey of the park identified "a long list of outstanding deferred maintenance needs" at the park, according to the staff report, which would add to the price tag.

The county has now planned to set aside enough money in its 2011-12 budget to keep the park open until April, buying the city time to figure out whether it should take over, if the Board of Supervisors approves the budget.

Meanwhile, the community hasn't sat idle. What started off as a grassroots neighborhood group is becoming a new, formal 501(c)3 nonprofit named "Friends of Flood Park," according to co-founder Jill Olson, who will serve as treasurer. Kristin Cox as president and Amy McGarghan as secretary fill out the board. With the Silicon Valley Community Foundation serving as a financial agent, the nonprofit said it can now accept donations to help save the park.

Ms. Olson said so far the group has organized a letter-writing campaign, resulting in at least 80 emails to the City Council supporting acquisition of Flood Park, and distributed 240 lawn signs throughout the park's neighborhood.

Visit savefloodpark.org for more information.

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