South City hits BART jackpotBy Mary F. Albert
South City has hit two funding jackpots recently that promise to pump more than $4 million into park projects.
The state's Department of Parks and Recreation granted the city about $2.3 million to renovate Orange Park's community center. And the city's long-planned "linear park" between the BART stations in South City and San Bruno has also been short-listed to receive about $2 million.
Although funding for the linear park could change if enough citizens object to proposed allocations of state-administered federal funds, city planners are still thrilled with the prospect of outside monies sprucing up city parks.
"In these tough economic times, we are so excited," said Sharon Ranals, director of South City's recreation and community services.
If the linear park project emerges unchallenged from a public review phase that began Monday and ends in mid-December, South City commuters could see a bike and pedestrian pathway replace dirt paths and parking lots as soon as 2005.
The proposed path, which would be lined with bushes and utilize safety features such as pedestrian-activated crossing lights, will run parallel to El Camino Real and wind its way between the two BART stations.
Barbara Olds, superintendent of the South San Francisco Unified School District, submitted a letter to the state Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which is administering the funds, arguing that the new path would help children of South San Francisco High and Los Cerritos elementary schools get to and from class more safely.
James Carless, a senior planner with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said that while the agency doesn't anticipate opposition to any of the proposed projects, if enough citizens object, the commission may choose to modify proposed plans.
Separate funds have also been secured for Orange Park's recreation building through the Urban Parks Act of 2001 grant program. While the promised $2 million is "not enough to build a Taj Mahal or anything, it'll be good," promised Ranals.
Current plans include replacing the existing center with a new one and moving current basketball courts farther away from the center. The park is located on Orange Avenue and Memorial Drive.
Copyright ©2004 Peninsula Examiner. Published 11/02/2004.