Green space work may grind to a halt in San Mateo

The next step in San Mateo’s efforts to improve its bayfront parks and trails is ready to kick off, but it could be several years before funding is located for the remainder of the Shoreline Parks improvements.

San Mateo recently released a request for proposals for Bay Marshes Boardwalk and wetland enhancements along the southeastern edge of the city. The improvements are funded by $500,000 in grants from the California Coastal Conservancy and the Bay Trail Project and approximately $300,000 in redevelopment funds. They are the latest in a series of Shoreline Parks projects that has included upgrades at Ryder and Harbor View parks.

But improvements to the parks’ other components, including upgrades to the trail and creek beyond Harbor View Park, will have to wait until the city finds money for them.

“They are not funded anywhere in the city’s capital improvement budget, and right now we have higher priorities in terms of finishing the fire stations and the street improvements,” City Manager Arne Croce said.

Landscape architect Dennis Frank said interest in the latest Shoreline Parks upgrade has been high. Called the Bay Marshes Boardwalk project, it includes construction of a 340-foot boardwalk and observation deck as well as fencing installation to keep dirt bikers and trespassers out of the surrounding wetlands.

The city is looking at an $810,000 budget for the latest project, which is approximately $300,000 higher than previously planned. Bids on the $2.3 million Harbor View Park upgrades came in so high — at least $1 million over budget — that the city decided to run the project itself to save money.

“Given what’s happening with construction costs, we find ourselves doing that again and again,” Croce said of the experience. “It always makes sense to go out and see what the climate is, you may get lucky and get some good bids.”

Frank said he thinks the city will be able to find a contractor for the Bay Marshes Boardwalk project within its proposed budget. It must be completed by January; grading of the marsh area must end by October to make way for both the wet season and the nesting of the endangered clapper rail bird.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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