Danville Express

Newsfront - April 27, 2007

Alamo may fund Iron Horse trailhead upkeep

EBMUD shifts responsibility back to county after completing pipeline improvements

by Natalie O'Neill

Alamo R-7A Parks and Recreation Committee may take on the job of maintaining two Alamo staging areas along the Iron Horse Trail.

"When we talk about what R-7A's charter is, that's really part of it," committee member Marianne Sasso said.

Landscape and amenity improvements were previously the responsibility of East Bay Municipal Utilities District. But now, with pipeline improvements complete, the weight is shifted to the county - which is asking the committee to help fund the upkeep.

Staging areas in Alamo have a parking lot, maps, benches and fountains and are popular trailheads. East Bay Regional Park District is also a partner in operating this trail facility.

"I describe the Iron Horse Trail as the largest park in Alamo," said committee chairman Steve Mick.

The county staff has been monitoring the trail from Danville to the Walnut Creek city limits since 2004, when the committee, which was made up of entirely different members, recommended that it do so.

The committee checked with Assistant Town Manager Marcia Somers, who attended the meeting, to compare what Danville does at its staging areas. She noted that the town does develop and maintain trail staging areas within Danville.

"We would like to either be involved or take over the position," said committee member Tom Mathews.

Looking at the issue, along with how the budget has been divided in the past quarter, some Alamo residents said they think too much money is going to county projects and staff. They say not enough is staying close to home.

Former R-7A member Vicki Koc said part of the problem is the committee needs to focus more on projects that help the schools and go directly to the community.

"You have come off to the public as totally anti-school," Koc told the committee. "You don't seem to want to maintain what's already here. ... They are not school parks; they are community parks."

Members of R-7A responded that they had recently agreed to contribute $200,000 to fund a pool at San Ramon Valley High School and that this is a project that helps the school.

Mick added they had not decreased any close-to-home funds knowingly, and other members noted they dedicate money to park and recreation-related groups that request their help.

"I haven't seen anyone from the school district come here and ask us for money," Sasso said.

The committee agreed that it needs to discuss the issue at a future meeting, dedicated entirely to its budget. The committee has an anticipated budget of about $700,000 annually.

"It would be a good use of our time," Mick said.

To date, no figure has been calculated for the cost of staging area improvements and maintenance.

Parks and Recreation Committee meetings are at 4:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at Hap Magee Ranch Park.


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