A vision plan to determine how the public wants open space to be used was launched by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District on Tuesday, March 26.
The year-long project entitled Imagine the Future of Open Space seeks public input on land preservation, environmental stewardship, and public access and recreation to create a regional open space blueprint for the next 40 years.
"We're celebrating our 40th anniversary, so it is especially fitting that we are beginning a vision plan right now," General Manager Steve Abbors said.
The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District was formed by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to preserve the regional greenbelt. The district has preserved more than 60,000 acres with 26 preserves in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and a small part of Santa Cruz counties.
The new project is composed of two distinct parts: public input into land use of existing open space under district control and habitat planning for district properties and adjacent lands.
The project is expected to cost the district $792,539, according to a plan report, which can be reviewed here. Full details regarding expenditures are available at this web link.
Consultants will receive the lion's share of the funds, with Public Dialogue Consortium receiving $223,000 and Jodi McGraw Consulting garnering $367,039, according to the report. Public Dialogue will handle the public outreach, and Jodi McGraw will handle analysis and the planning of the vision plan.
The district plans comprehensive public outreach and communication, including a newly launched online forum at imagine.openspace.org
A Community Advisory Committee (CAC) made up of nearly 25 representatives, from cattle ranchers to environmentalists, will assist in developing the plan. The public can attend the advisory committee's monthly meetings, which begin April 17, and district board meetings for additional opportunities for input and review.
The district is also working with Public Dialogue Consortium, a public-engagement firm, to conduct one-on-one interviews about the future of regional open space at public events or by individual or groups.
A series of vision-plan public meetings will be held in fall of 2013, along with board workshops throughout 2013 and 2014. The final draft vision plan is scheduled to be presented to the district board of directors in April 2014.
The district plans a detailed analysis of its preserves and adjacent lands to examine wildlife habitat, creeks and watershed land, recreational trails and connections, agriculture and other topics to assist in future planning and environmental maintenance decisions.
More information about Imagine the Future of Open Space can be found at www.openspace.org/imagine www.openspace.org/imagine or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The online interactive website can be accessed directly at imagine.openspace.org.