After lengthy community input, ideas for Foster City’s newest park, Werder, have been narrowed down to include mostly passive uses that maintain open green spaces.
Werder will be the city’s 22nd park and will be mostly undeveloped without any athletic fields or basketball courts added to it. The city took over the park area, adjacent to State Route 92, from San Mateo County and early proposals included constructing an ice rink or ferry terminal for the property.
Those plans have died, however, and the preferred alternatives for Werder now include a space for mobile concession, picnic tables, benches, limited parking, open space, a maintenance storage area and rest room.
Mayor Pam Frisella, however, is hoping that the property will generate some future revenue for the city from concessions such as bicycle rentals or food sales.
“It is worth looking at since the view is priceless and the price was right,” Frisella wrote the Daily Journal in an email.
The county conveyed the park area to the city at no cost.
A rest room is already on the Werder property but was only open for about six months and will need some refurbishing, said Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Miller. The county closed the park quickly after it opened it because it did not have the funds to maintain it, Miller said.
The city is also moving toward sprucing up Destination Park, the triangular-shaped parcel near Halibut Street that was once considered for a fourth elementary school in the city.
Both parks are accessible from the levee pedway that wraps around Foster City.
Destination is technically considered one of the city’s parks already although it has no amenities, Miller said.
So far, only conceptual preliminary designs have been approved by both the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee and Planning Commission. The City Council will next consider how to approach the parks at a public forum next week.
Early cost estimates to turn both spaces into parks are about $2.2 million with ongoing costs estimated to be about $40,000 a year, mostly to maintain the bathrooms, Miller said.
But Vice Mayor Charlie Bronitsky is not ready to spend that kind of money now on constructing new parks since the city is facing a structural deficit in the coming years.
“As I have said publicly since the inception of this idea, I do not think it is good timing to be spending city funds on two new parks given the number of parks we have, the financial condition of our city and the fact that we will be able to develop these later should we so choose,” Bronitsky wrote the Daily Journal in an email.
Bronitsky would rather spend city funds on economic development.
“We are already projecting a return to deficit spending in just two years and that does not include any more spending on the development of new parks,” Bronitsky wrote.
Councilman Art Kiesel hopes that if the city does invest in Werder that it generates some money for the city.
Destination Park, however, will likely just be a “destination” from which the city will not realize any income, Kiesel said.
Councilman Herb Perez thinks the 2.6-acre Werder site is a great opportunity for the city to modernize its approach to public spaces and would also like to see amenities and concessions that generate revenue for the city, too. The pier adjacent to the park is still owned by the county.
The public forum is 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 21, City Hall, 620 Foster City Blvd., Foster City.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106