The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board of directors unanimously approved a $300-million bond measure Wednesday night, culminating a year of public outreach dedicated to developing a vision for the future of the 62,000 acres of open space the agency is charged with protecting.
The bond measure, to be placed on the June 3 ballot, requires a two-thirds vote in the district's jurisdiction in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and a portion of unincorporated Santa Cruz County.
If approved, the money would support a slew of future efforts: protection of local redwood forests; expanded public access to protected land; new hiking, biking and equestrian trails; land restoration and conservation of watersheds and farm land.
The measure will increase local property taxes by $3.18 per $100,000 of assessed value.
The district's public affairs manager, Shelly Lewis, said the $300 million amount was decided on after talking to public and partner agencies, environmental groups, bicyclists, walkers, runners and hikers about their visions and desires for local open spaces. She said there were a total of 24 opportunities in the past year for the public to voice their opinion about the topic.
"We've heard from the public," she said. "They want more access. They want us to be able to have the funds to preserve land when it becomes available."
She said that 54 percent of the land the district oversees is open, while 46 percent is not.
"We want to open that land," Lewis said. "We need the funds to do it and the public has said we want access, too."
For more information about the bond measure proposal, the visioning plan and the 25 proposed projects, visit openspace.org.