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County receives $750K from state budget for regional park

Community meetings planned for Sept. 29, Oct. 2

District 30 Assemblymember Robert Rivas, San Benito County Supervisor Bea Gonzales and County Administrator Ray Espinosa pose at county meeting chambers Sept. 16 with a “check” for $750,000 for the local regional park project. 

State and San Benito County officials this week celebrated the acquisition of $750,000 in the state budget to support development of the Riverview Regional Park Accessibility Project.

After spending many years in concept planning stages, the 70-acre regional park project gained momentum in April when the San Benito County Board of Supervisors and San Benito High School District reached a lease agreement for the property that will be used for the park. That agreement allowed the county to apply for up to $3 million in grant funding and move forward creating the park’s design.

On Sept. 16, Assemblymember Robert Rivas joined county officials at the board of supervisors meeting chambers to announce that the state budget includes $750,000 to support the local regional park project. The funding was included in Assembly Bill 170, the state’s Budget Act of 2021. 

“The pandemic demonstrated just how important outdoor spaces are—they provide opportunities to exercise and connect that benefit (to) our physical and mental health. Everybody deserves equitable access to these spaces,” said Rivas, who represents Assembly District 30. “I am grateful to Supervisor Gonzales and San Benito County for their advocacy and collaboration to secure funding for this project. Now all San Benito County residents will be able to enjoy this outdoor space.”

The park project is located on the San Benito River, on River Parkway in Hollister.

Currently, the public is using the property for recreation despite the lack of parking or accessible trailheads. With funding secured, the county can now take steps to make improvements for increased inclusivity and accessibility, including an ADA-accessible trailhead and van-accessible parking spots.

“I want to thank Assemblymember Rivas for working with the Board of Supervisors to secure state budget support for the Accessibility Project at Riverview Regional Park,” said Supervisor Bea Gonzales, chair of the board of supervisors. “This park will include 70 acres that create more opportunities for residents to enjoy our beautiful outdoors. It is important that we work to make this park inclusive of all residents and I look forward to the completion of this accessibility project.”

The regional park would include sports facilities along with several other elements, which will be decided upon after the county conducts upcoming public outreach meetings with the community. The adjoining River Parkway will consist of a 20-mile corridor of the San Benito River and Tres Pinos Creek and provide multi-use (walking, bicycling and equestrian) trails. 

Supporters of the regional park received good news when the county and school district agreed to terms on a lease of the property that will comprise the majority of the park. File photo.