Thursday, October 13, 2005

Parks Need For Adequate Funding

Our Parkway isn’t the only park having trouble finding adequate funding, as the following article in today’s Bee notes, but there are options, as we have proposed in our strategy for the Parkway (see our website at ) and as mentioned in the article.

State parks finding it hard to maintain the experience
Enough money to repair the facilities hasn't been budgeted for at least 15 years, officials complain
By M.S. Enkoji -- Bee Staff Writer Published 2:15 am PDT Thursday, October 13, 2005

As campers roll up their sleeping bags and head home for the winter, the California Parks and Recreation Department will get out the toolbox to fix fences, fill potholes and patch roofs. But not all of them.

The state Department of Parks and Recreation has a $906 million maintenance backlog - such as a deteriorating wall at Sutter's Fort - that has been on hold for the last 15 years. During the same time, annual state park visitors went from 76 million to as many as 87 million.

Because of budget cuts, the department has had to delay maintenance that doesn't affect public safety, said Roy Stearns, a department spokesman.

But the state's park system cannot withstand many more busy summer seasons without a healthy repair budget, he said.

Historical structures go without restoration; ancient sewer lines go without replacement.

At Sutter's Fort in Sacramento, the walls are weakening, even crumbling in some places, though it isn't a danger to the public, Stearns said. Something needs to be done in the next few years, but the estimated $1 million to do the restoration job isn't in the budget, he said.

Water and sewer lines are among the most expensive delayed maintenance projects because of the cost and additional expense of replacing them in environmentally sensitive areas, Stearns said. Smaller jobs, such as sealing wooden lifeguard towers at $500 a year, delayed for too long turn into a $40,000 replacement cost.

The department is beginning a search for a reliable money source outside the state's budget.
"We need to find a sustainable source," Stearns said.

Some of the options could be donations, bonds, a trust or a type of annuity.

For the rest of the story: