Wind surfers, bicyclists and butterflies are just some of those who could benefit from nearly $500,000 in donations from the county Parks and Recreation Foundation.
If approved today by the Board of Supervisors, more than half the money will go straight into county coffers to pay for improvements to the Coyote Point Park wind- surfing staging area, a recently completed parking lot at the Edgewood Interpretive Center and mowing at the Edgewood Park preserve to help restore checkerspot butterfly habitat, according to Julia Bott, Parks and Recreation Foundation executive director.
About $212,000 of in-kind contributions have already been spent by the foundation to hire designers for the Edgewood Interpretive Center, pay a biologist to oversee the butterfly restoration, as well as outreach for a dedicated parks tax, Measure A, on the November ballot.
"This year’s donations meet the foundation’s mission to preserve native habitats and enhance visitors’ experience," Bott said. Last year the foundation gave about $141,000, with in-kind donations of about $265,000, officials said.
The foundation secured an estimated $331,000 in grants for county parks this year, compared to about $576,000 a year earlier, officials said. Established by park advocates in 1998 during tough financial times, the non-profit foundation has donated more than $6.8 million to the county parks system from grants and contributions from individuals and businesses.
"The foundation has done a great job raising money in the private sector, but it is not a long-term answer," Supervisor Rich Gordon said.
What is needed is a dedicated tax source, which is what Measure A will provide, Gordon said. An estimated $90 million in maintenance and upgrades are needed at Peninsula parks, according to an analysis released last year.
While the Foundation is dedicated to environmental programs such as restoring native butterfly habitat and studying erosion at Coyote Point in an attempt to prevent it, supporting family programs such as Bicycle Sunday encourages more people to enjoy the county’s parks, officials said.