Over two hundred people have signed a petition criticizing the Recreation and Parks Department’s plans for trails and open spaces under the McLaren Park Vision Plan a day before a committee votes on the plan.
On Wednesday, the Recreation and Park Commission’s Capital Committee will vote on the McLaren Park Vision Strategy, a plan for how department will spend the remains of $12 million designated to the park from a 2012 bond.
By Tuesday afternoon, 249 people had signed a Change.org petition urging the Capital Committee not approve the use of $3.5 million for the park’s trails and open spaces.
“The plan offered by RPD runs counter to what the public has called for during a year of envisioning,” the petition states.
“The needs of the people who depend on McLaren Park for recreation and relaxation have been given no weight in RPD’s decision making,” Tom Broden, a McLaren Park and mountain bike advocate, stated in a message to park activists. “The trail envisioning process was a sham and a great deal of time and money was wasted while RPD went through the motions of this ‘collaborative’ process.”
Borden says the department’s plan to spend $3.5 million on the park’s Trails and Natural Features Priority Areas would “severely limit where people can roam in the park” by eliminating half of the park’s trails and installing fences and signage.
Connie Chan, a representative of RPD, said that the details of the McLaren Trails Improvements are still being worked out. More outreach will be conducted in 2018, according to Chan.
A report about the McLaren Trail Improvements project from September estimates that 10.7 miles of the park’s 18.8 miles of paths would be dedicated for pedestrians. The remaining trails would be split into 3.5 miles of bike legal trails and 4.6 miles of multi-use routes.
The department held three community meetings focused on the parks trails this year, according to a department report.
RPD’s proposal for the remaining $8.9 million would allocate $1.7 million towards rebuilding the Group Picnic Area restroom, $1.45 million towards improving the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater and several other projects.
At its Nov. 1 meeting, the committee will also vote on a new design for McLaren Playground and a proposal to lease the Geneva Car Barn to the Community Arts Stabilization Trust, a group which leases spaces to nonprofit arts organizations.
The Capital Committee will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. in City Hall Room 416.
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