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--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on preserving and connecting California's Parks & Wildlife Corridors

Monday, August 9, 2010

East SF Bay Gem is finally saved...

"When Franklin Canyon was saved, it made me want to cry...."

excerpted from:

7/28/2010...the 20-year emotional rollercoaster is finally over. The 483-acre property near Hercules, together with its sister parcel, 702-acre Fernandez Ranch, are forever saved from development thanks to a last-minute gift from the city of Hercules.

..."To say it was hair-raising does not understate the equation," said the trust's director, Linus Eukel. "When it finally came together, we were swinging from the chandeliers."

After trust officials signed a contract for the land in August 2009, staff went on a fundraising tear, collecting grants and donations from individuals, public agencies and private foundations. The East Bay Regional Park District gave more than $1 million. Caltrans kicked in $600,000.
Short of funds

But as the June 25 deadline approached, the trust was still shy of the $2.6 million needed to purchase the property and the $700,000 needed to maintain it in perpetuity.

The deal was about to collapse when the city of Hercules stepped in, offering $200,000 from its Measure WW parks fund, nearly a fifth of the fund's value.

Hercules is usually known more for its friendly hand to developers, not land trusts. But in recent years, the quiet, 25,000-resident community on San Pablo Bay has slowly shifted toward greener priorities. In 2004 voters passed Measure M, which rezoned the Franklin Canyon area to 40-acre minimum parcels. The city is also preserving the 12-acre Chelsea Wetlands area, working on Bay Trail and Ridge Trail connections and opting for more high-density, infill development...

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