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County weighs tax district for parks, library

SBC

The San Benito County supervisors gave direction to the county parks and recreation commissioners to begin hosting public meetings to look at options for a community services district that would fund future projects.

“We are looking at education on what types of districts are available and what would be appropriate,” said Janelle Cox, a county management analyst who works with the parks and recreation commission. “You will receive information.”

A date for the public workshops has not been selected, but Cox said that she would be attending the San Benito High School District’s meeting in mid-February to invite a representative to attend as the high school begins work on a master plan.

The community services district could include funding for a county library in addition to parks-related services.

At the same meeting, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Dan Dungy spoke of highlights from the six-month status report submitted to the supervisors in their agenda packet.

 “It’s been a pretty active year – 2011 has been a busy year, and it’s not only the commissioners’ accomplishments but the staff,” Dungy said.

Dungy noted that the commissioners submitted four grant applications to the state parks and recreation department that could bring in funding for projects at the Veterans Memorial Park, the River Parkway, the Regional Park and a joint venture with Tres Pinos School.

Dungy said the commission created an ad-hoc committee with the city’s parks and recreation commission to promote the west-side park, used as spray fields for the wastewater treatment plant. A representative from the county commission attends city parks meetings and vice versa so they can work together collaboratively.

He said the commissioner worked with Hollister Hills to promote outreach on the non-motorized trails. Hollister Hills has provided funding for the commission to meet monthly, after the board of supervisors cut funding for meetings. He noted that the progress made by the commission has been at no cost to the county.

 “We have to keep moving forward,” Dungy said, of developing current and new parks. “It provides physical health, economic development – and raises property taxes.”

The written report included information on the tasks that the parks commission completed from July 1 to Dec. 31. They include developing a cooperative agreement with the San Benito County Historical Society that incorporates the use of Historical Park land for the Historical Village, the museum and a caretaker at the park. They received donations of a custom-made bench for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and trees for the San Benito Historical Park. They also submitted a grant application to the state department of parks and recreation for improvements to Veterans Memorial Park.

Many of the efforts by the commissioners include work around the proposed San Benito River Parkway and Regional Park. Some efforts included a grant application for the development of the parks, site visits with project stakeholders, public forums on the proposed parks and the establishment of an advisory committee on the parks. The commissioners also provided comment on such items as a Smart Park, a solar park proposed adjacent to the river parkway, and the proposed Fairview Corners development.