News - November 16, 2011

Running Flood Park could be expensive

by Sandy Brundage

When San Mateo County asked Menlo Park to take over Flood Park in hopes of saving the park from closure, the city decided to do its homework before saying yes.

Now it looks like running the 21-acre park on Bay Road could cost the city $595,000 a year, nearly three times as much as the county paid for maintenance, according to a city staff report. In addition, there could be up to $20 million in one-time costs for renovations such as adding a drainage system to the parking lot.

The report attributes the higher costs in part to a projected increase in park use and the need to maintain it at the same level as other city parks.

The park closed to let the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission install water pipeline. But faced with a demand to cut 10 percent from the county's operating budget, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors at first recommended permanently shutting the park down.

The board then reversed course, and approved enough funding to keep the park open until March 2012.

The Menlo Park Parks and Recreation Commission will consider the staff report at a special meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

City staff is asking the parks commission to consider whether the city truly needs more open space. If it does, where should the money come from? Can the new nonprofit, the Friends of Flood Park, help?

The City Council will then hold a study session on Dec. 13 to review the options.

The Parks and Recreation Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center at 700 Alma St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center.


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