Plans to revamp recently-acquired Werder and Destination parks in Foster City passed a hurdle this week as the City Council approved plans to create passive recreational space there.
City staff will now begin negotiations and continue to develop plans and specifications with the design and planning firm Callander and Associates, said Kevin Miller, Foster City’s director of Parks and Recreation.
The county gave the 2.6 acres of land along the Bay to the city with stipulations for it to remain open space, Miller said. The parks are currently closed to the public and have primarily been used as a parking lot and construction equipment storage site, Miller said.
The new plans will maintain the Beach Park Boulevard entry and access to the Bay Trail, create an open meadow, plant native vegetation and install picnic tables and benches, according to a staff report. A restroom was previously constructed by the county, but was closed shortly after and needs significant repairs, Miller said.
In addition to the $2.2 million construction cost, the city anticipates another $40,000 a year in maintenance. The council approved the first $200,000 for construction this week.
Monday night’s vote was 4-1. Councilman Charles Bronitsky voted against the motion with the city’s projected budget deficit in mind.
“I’ve been against the expenditure of over $2 million on these parks since inception. I think that we should explore ways to use the funds that will reduce the burden on the general fund rather than increase it,” Bronitsky said in an email.
However, the money used to purchase the park did not come from the city’s general funds, Councilman Steve Okamoto said, and the annual maintenance fees are allocated for in the city’s Parks and Recreation budget.
The city is responding to the challenges of investing in parks that typically don’t generate revenue. There is the potential to have mobile concession stands like bike rentals or small snack trucks that would pay fees to the city, Miller said.
The Bay Trail is a countywide system that connects Foster City to other cities along the Bay, Miller said. The council would like to find a mobile bike distributor for Werder Park, Okamoto said.
“The pedway of our part of the Bay Trail is ideal for bike riding. There’s a lot of people who don’t have bikes or can’t transport bikes,” Okamoto said.
The most influential aspect of investing in the park may be its ability to increase property values in the area, Miller said.
“Parks make life better in Foster City. This will enhance the real estate and home values around [Werder]. It’s still going to be a park and open space, but we are going to pursue our ability to generate revenue out of the site,” Miller said.