I am not sure where to begin I have so many thoughts and comments about this subject. But simply, I strongly oppose opening Foothills Park to neighboring communities.
1) First, the precious ecosystem of this park is not something to be bargained with. Further, I can't believe we would even be considering trades at $50,000 to $135,000.
2) I find it strange that Los Altos is suggesting payment of $135,000 to Palo Alto for opening Foothills Park to their residents but then as quoted by Council Member Breen Kerr in the Daily News, "There would be no strings attached to the money, but we anticipate it would be used to open Fire Station 8" in Foothills Park. If we need a fire station to remain open for public safety, then that should be a priority and it should have nothing to do with access to Foothills Park.
3) Foothills Park is a treasure and we do not need to open it up further. It is my understanding that it is currently open to non-resident foot traffic (why is this any different than some of our other local/regional parks, such as Windy Hill?). We have few areas in Palo Alto that maintain such pristine beauty-- why risk that? And aren't there currently a couple of times a year that it is opened to neighboring communities?
4) We have over 30 other city parks that are open to non-residents. One is in my neighborhood: Eleanor Pardee Park. This morning was typical as I walked my dog before the maintenance crews came through and found the park strewn with trash, leftover food and human waste. I see no reason to increase our exposure in Foothills Park which will surely only increase our annual maintenance fees and possibly threaten the natural beauty of the park.
5) If we were to open up Foothills Park to non-residents how can we limit it to just Los Altos? And the thought of charging different communities "by their ability to pay" is positively absurd. This would be an act that we could never change.
If you are looking for some money, how about starting with the $181,000 earmarked for an Environmental Coordinator. I bet that person wouldn't support opening up Foothills!