After 5 years of extensive work, the Park District and its partner agencies have successfully helped place a bond measure on the state ballot to address statewide park needs. In total, the measure would provide $4.1 billion to address parks, open space, water resources, and flood protection needs.
Years of neglect and competing priorities have left California’s once “Best in Nation” system of state parks and open spaces in disrepair with little funding for infrastructure improvements and maintenance. Repair and upgrade needs are estimated at $25 billion.
Additionally, the East Bay Regional Park District operates three local state parks – Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda, McLaughlin Eastshore State Park running along the shoreline through Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, and Richmond, and Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore – with no funding from the State. Crown Memorial State Beach and Del Valle Regional Park are over 60 years old with aging and deteriorating infrastructure. And, McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, which covers over 9 miles along the San Francisco Bay, is prone to flooding and under threat of sea level rise.
“Getting the measure on the ballot was a long, multi-year effort,” said East Bay Regional Park District General Manager Robert Doyle. “The Park District is pleased that voters in California will have the opportunity to invest in our natural infrastructure with park improvements and open space preservation.”
The Park-Water-Flood Protection Bond includes $2.83 billion for parks and natural resources, $720 million for water resources, and $550 million for flood protection. The measure will be on the June 2018 ballot.
The Park District thanks Governor Jerry Brown for his leadership in signing (SB 5 (de León) and placing a statewide park bond on the ballot for voters consideration. The Park District would also like to thank State Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de León, Speaker Anthony Rendon, Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia and the entire Park District state legislative delegation including, Senators Glazer, Skinner, and Wieckowski, and Assembly members Baker, Bonta, Chu, Frazier, Grayson, Quirk, and Thurmond.
“If approved, the bond would provide significant funding for project grants to local agencies,” said Doyle. “The Park District would be positioned well to receive funds given its ability to provide matching funds from its local, voter-approved revenue measures, Measure WW and Measure CC,”
“The bond also includes $200 million in grants that would be distributed on a per capita basis throughout California so that all communities benefit,” added Doyle.
Measure WW and Measure CC, which were passed by local voters, have provided matching funds that have allowed the Park District to leverage external state and federal funds. A recent study showed that for every $1 invested into a project by the District, the Park District has obtained $2 from external sources.
The District has a responsibility to ensure that local voters are properly informed about the state bond measure. Over the next year, the Park District will be providing factual information to residents about the statewide bond and the potential local benefits.
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 121,000 acres in 73 parks including over1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.
Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor