Palo Alto officials are set to offer their endorsement tonight to an ambitious bond measure that would fund 25 open-space projects, including fresh trails in the Baylands, a new welcome center at Rancho San Antonio and the opening of upper La Honda Creek Preserve for public recreation.
The projects are included in the $300 million bond that the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District will ask voters to approve on the June 3 ballot. If approved, the bond would cost voters in the district's area an estimated $3.18 per $100,000 assessed value per year. The bond measure, known as Measure AA, would also improve trails along Alpine Road, preserve the San Gregorio Creek watershed; and develop new trails at Windy Hills.
The open-space district comprises 17 cities in Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, including Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Mountain View. The bond measure requires a two-thirds vote for approval.
If the Palo Alto City Council follows staff's recommendations and endorses Measure AA, it will follow the lead of the League of Women's Voters Bay Area, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, and 300 elected officials and community leaders, according to a report from the office of City Manager James Keene. The report states that the measure will result in "expanded public access to protection land, protection of redwood forests, land and natural habitat restoration and preservation of agricultural land along the San Mateo Coast."
A resolution prepared for the council's approval notes that the measure "would improve recreational opportunities for Palo Alto residents by increasing access to hiking and biking trails, as well as restore and protect natural habitats in the District, improve the scenic beauty of the region, and reduce forest fire risk." The resolution ends with the City Council pledging its "enthusiastic support" for the measure, which is known as the Regional Open Space Access, Preservation and Restoration Bond.
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