Almanac

News - June 22, 2011

Menlo to county: Maybe we'll take Flood Park

• City compiles list of needed repairs.

by Sandy Brundage

Let the wheeling and dealing begin. The Menlo Park City Council voted unanimously on June 14 to start negotiating with the county for Flood Park, a 21-acre community gathering spot that made San Mateo County's short list of assets slated for closure to save money.

The transfer is not a done deal, however. The city first wants to know exactly how much the park's maintenance would cost. The county estimated $205,000 annually, but now Menlo Park has found that essential repairs are needed, driving up the expense.

Community Services Director Cherise Brandell provided the Almanac with a "to do" list for Flood Park that ranged from painting fences to pulling weeds to resurfacing four cracked tennis courts. She said the city's survey of repairs continues. Located at 215 Bay Road, the park saw about 75,000 visitors last year, according to county data.

Mayor Rich Cline attended a "Save Flood Park" community meeting at Cafe Zoe on June 13, along with about 25 other people, and proclaimed it "good" during his report to the council.

A grassroots group dedicated to keeping Flood Park open organized the Cafe Zoe meeting, and has gone on to form a 501(c)3 nonprofit to collaborate with the city on solutions. "Friends of Flood Park," according to co-founder Jill Olson, who will serve as treasurer, can now accept donations. Kristin Cox as president and Amy McGarghan as secretary fill the remaining spots on the board.

San Mateo did set aside enough money to keep the park open until April in its 2011-12 budget, buying the city time to figure out whether it should take over if the budget passes the Board of Supervisors at the end of this month. Flood Park remains closed until Sept. 30, regardless, while the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission installs a water pipeline.

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