Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gibson Ranch to Open!

A great outcome in this innovative way to provide for Gibson Ranch Park and perhaps a way forward for the other parks in our region suffering from lack of funding and dedicated management.

Congratulations to all involved: Doug Ose for a great proposal, the Dry Creek Parkway Advisory Committee, the County Parks Commission and the County Parks Department, for seeing the potential and supporting the plan, for the County Board of Supervisors who helped create a great final product which they approved unanimously, and most of all, for the many residents of the communities adjacent to Gibson Ranch who came out in force to advocate for their beloved park.

Here is an excerpt from the Sacramento Bee article.

“Sacramento County supervisors approved an agreement Wednesday that will give developer and former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose control of Gibson Ranch.

“Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the 10-year lease. Ose will lease the park for $1 a year and be able to charge the public for a variety of services. Any profit will eventually be split with the county. The county will pay $100,000 a year on deferred maintenance for five years.

“Ose plans to reopen Gibson Ranch on April 1. The park was closed last year due to budget cuts.

“Before supervisors voted, Ose told the board that he had booked a long list of events for this year at the 350-acre park near Elverta. A Civil War re-enactment, birthdays, weddings, running events, fireworks, an Easter egg hunt and more are planned, he said.

"I could go on and on with all kinds of things people are ready for at Gibson Ranch, and I can deliver," Ose said.

“The park will be open for horse riding, hiking, picnics and other uses.

“The board directed county officials to negotiate with Ose in December. There were some disagreements about whether he would have to get additional approval for some new projects.

“But Ose and county officials eventually agreed that proposals that potentially would conflict with the county's long-term plan for the park would have to get future approval from two advisory boards and supervisors.

“With once-controversial ideas such as an RV park and a pet motel not immediately under consideration, Ose's plan received a warmer welcome than it did last year, when both advisory boards and county staff opposed it.

“Supervisors did learn that there was some opposition to one part of his plan: a tree farm. An advisory board considered a motion to reject that idea, but the vote failed.

“Ose said he is considering a farm for Christmas trees and trees for new development, among other things.

"If you strip down to the basics of the problems at Gibson Ranch, we don't have enough revenues," he said.

“Supervisor Phil Serna, who was the only board member to oppose the plan in December, switched his vote Wednesday. He said it was the right decision then to call for the county to open up the process for other parties interested in running the park.

“Now that the county had decided to negotiate only with Ose, Serna said he was willing to support the project. He was able to get the board to include some provisions, including that Ose will bring the tree farm idea back for informal review when he's ready to start it.”