Every now and then, you may notice new features in Burlingame parks. A cornhole game here, a water bottle refill station there. It’s as if they appear by magic.

But it’s not. It’s actually the work of the Burlingame Parks and Recreation Foundation, which raises funds and works with the city to determine how to place needed features at all the parks. Parks and Recreation crews do the installations.

While it might seem as if only your park gets stuff, it is actually spread throughout the city intentionally.

“We make sure we help out with all sections,” said Randy Schwartz, president of the foundation.

Schwartz has been president since about the time he retired as Hillsborough city manager four years ago and after a long career of public service that included being Burlingame’s Park and Recreation director. So he’s familiar with the city and its needs. But it’s a team effort and includes fundraisers such as a new speaker series and the upcoming Muddy Mile on the Bayside. Another one is coming up next weekend at Washington Park. It’s the fourth annual bocce tournament at the new and improved courts that now has a double barbecue and an adjacent cornhole setup and horseshoe pits. Next month, the foundation will be approving $25,000 to purchase and install lights over the bocce courts, so there can be some nighttime use. In addition to that, Schwartz reports that in the past year, the foundation has purchased and donated eight benches for local tennis courts, two outdoor cornhole sets (they are looking for the right spot for the second one), five parks tables with checkers board inlaid, the Washington Park barbecue, two water bottle refill stations for Bayside Park and one bicycle repair station. They’ve also mapped Mills Canyon and will be donating $5,000 to the City Council for youth recreation scholarships, according to Schwartz.

Most recently, the foundation built, painted and installed chalkboards for the children at Paloma Park after seeing children’s drawings on the back fence.

Burlingame has beautiful and well-used parks. But as with any public facility, area or building, they can always use some extras — and that’s where the foundation comes in.

If you are interested in learning more about the foundation and all it does, go to supportburlingameparks.org or call Schwartz at (650) 520-3541 or email him at rschwartz@myastound.net.

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When the Daily Journal wrote about San Carlos’ Iron Ox in late 2017, we knew they were on to something. After all, it’s not often you hear of a company building a robotic greenhouse. But the unique company that focuses on building an automated farming system decided last week to share their crops locally.

According to the company, its first Bay Area partner will be Bianchini’s in San Carlos, which will sell three different varietals — red-vein sorrel, Genevieve basil and baby lettuce heads. Rather than the typical 2,000-mile journey a head of lettuce typically takes in the United States, these little bundles of produce will travel just more than a half a mile on Friday and be on the shelves within 24 hours.

The company is trying new methods of farming with plant science, machine learning and robotics and while some people might be saying it’s the stuff of “Brave New World,” it really is just an extension of how we already produce agriculture. It might also give a leg up to local producers who could benefit from an update on their methodology to help stay competitive with big agriculture.

With the world’s population growing, the technology Iron Ox is working on might be able to make certain areas that don’t benefit from traditional good climates and soil more food stable, which makes them more politically stable. It could also provide ways to reduce the use of harmful chemicals. And who knows? It might even taste great.

***

The Millbrae Pancake House is celebrating its 60th anniversary this weekend. I’ve never been, but heard it’s good.

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Sad to see Retro Sweets on Howard Avenue in downtown Burlingame shut its doors. The official reason was that it could no longer keep up with the changing retail climate. It was at the corner of Lorton Avenue for 11 years, though it seemed much longer. Before it opened, it was a paint store, I think Gray’s, which is now on California Drive.

***

Nazareth Enterprise just purchased its Ice Oasis location in the Bridgepointe Shopping Center for $11.5 million. After some concern the rink would become retail, it was rescued by Nazareth in 2017. The shopping center was sold a bit ago but the rink was not part of the deal. This purchase, according to Mounir Kardosh, Nazareth CEO, will allow for more extensive work to be done to the facility like a new roof and solar panels. There are also some deals in the works for partner tenants, he added.

Jon Mays is the editor in chief of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jon@smdailyjournal.com. Follow Jon on Twitter @jonmays.

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(1) comment

Thomas Morgan

Great news for the Ice Rink, hopefully a good portion of the transfer goes into park and rec related activities.

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