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Foster City is one of the best places to live for various reasons. Foster City has been recognized more than once by "Money" magazine as one of America's "Best Places to Live" and in 2009, Forbes ranked the city number 10 on its list of "America's Top 25 Towns to Live Well." During my numerous conversations with residents of the city, older and younger, new and old residents from different ethnic backgrounds, most cite the reasons they live in Foster City as: parks, location, schools, and safety. For the purpose of this article I will focus on parks.
Foster City residents enjoy one of the best park systems in the bay area, if not the nation, thanks to a master plan and diligent city leadership and staff. Our parks are enjoyed by residents and visitors year round and contribute to our well-being; "Parks Make Life Better." Our parks undoubtedly add value to our homes and offer our kids venues to play and enjoy sports, thus keeping them away from trouble.
Our city is in the process of the last phase of major redevelopment as it readies itself for the next decade and beyond. Foster Square (15 acres) and the Triton projects are two of those major development projects. All the developments are part of a master plan to have an economical and environmental "Sustainable Foster City." With the completion of these projects and others, our resident population and workforce population will increase. It is important to maintain our quality of life and parks system as we develop the city economically. Readying our parks system for the population increase and enhancing the quality of life of current residents are two of the reasons behind building two new, very unique parks.
Back in early 2013, the City Council authorized Callander and Associates to conduct a study to determine the best uses for city-owned properties it was calling Destination Park and Werder Park. That was followed by a series of public meetings where the public was invited to share their suggestions and comments for the best uses for the proposed parks before the Parks and Recreation Committee. Based on the public comments, committee's recommendation, and staff's recommendations, the City Council has authorized Callander and Associates to complete design and construction documents for the two parks.
The two parks will be a great addition to our parks system with each designed with a unique concept:
Destination Park: Open and passive park space, restroom, public art, and natural pathways.
Werder Park: Open park space, restroom, mobile concession space, pathways, picnic tables, benches, public art.
During the public hearings, the majority of the people who spoke before the Parks and Recreation Committee were excited and happy to see a plan for these two new parks. Each park will provide its own unique experience for its visitors. Destination Park will provide the opportunity to reflect in a peaceful setting, do some bird watching, and to stroll along meandering paths surrounded by native plants and animals. Werder Park will provide picnic tables, benches and revenue generating mobile concessions such as bicycle rentals and food. In addition, both parks will provide much needed restrooms for levee users.
It is important to note that the construction cost for the two parks will not come from the city's general fund or from our tax dollars. The construction will be funded by the Park-In-Lieu Fund, which cannot be used for anything other than creating or expanding our parks. The Park-In-Lieu Fund is projected to have approximately $7,000,000 available for a variety of park projects over the next 5 years. A large portion of that fund is from the developers of the Triton and Foster Square projects. If that money is not spent on parks in the next five years, it has to be returned to the developers.
The next public forum to discuss the two parks development plans will be held at the Foster City Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on May 7, 2014, starting at 6:30 PM in the City Council Chambers located at 620 Foster City Boulevard in Foster City. You are invited to attend the meeting and share your thoughts and ideas. Alternatively, you can contact the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, Kevin Miller, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404