Newsom: Money for parks could be dug up

While The City’s Recreation and Park Department mulls cutting positions of those who maintain San Francisco’s parks, Mayor Gavin Newsom said cash for new parks and open space will be dug out of The City’s coffers.

On Thursday, Newsom addressed roughly 100 members of an open-space task force he created in November to develop ideas for buying, developing, renovating and maintaining new and existing parks and other green spaces in The City. He told the task force — which consisted of developers, city workers,nonprofit leaders and residents — that he doesn’t “believe in across-the-board cuts” and will find money in an upcoming budget if the group can “demonstrate need.”

The Recreation and Park Department is actively working to find new land it could buy for parks on the eastern side of The City, department employee Dawn Kamalanathan said during the meeting. Similarly, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission employee Suzanne Gautier said a rugged 12-acre hill adjacent to O’Shaughnessy Boulevard near Laguna Honda could be used as open space.

Newsom provided few clues as to how much cash he would secure: “If this task force comes back and says, ‘We need hundreds of millions of dollars,’ I’d say, ‘Don’t waste your time.’”

jupton@examiner.com

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