Planning for the strip
Initial plans would preserve the Burnham Strip as parkland and preserve the ocean views, too. Illustration courtesy GCSD

Initial plans for a park on the Burnham Strip in El Granada are taking shape as the Granada Community Services District is eliciting public comment to help form project plans.

GCSD President Barbara Dye said that the proposed park, which would feature both active and passive recreation options while maintaining features like the current skate ramp, has been a community priority since she joined the GCSD three years ago. But Dye said the long-term strategy of buying and conserving the land has been in the works for many years.

“It's been a longtime dream of many people who all worked together to protect that property,” Dye said.

Dye said the goal is to have construction on the park underway in two years. A special board meeting on Sept. 24 will take final public comment after which the board will submit the project plan to the county to kick off the review process.

After three initial public outreach efforts, including a survey completed by 500 residents, Parks Advisory Committee Chair Nancy Marsh said, so far, about a dozen people have submitted comments in this final period, which will close mid-September. She and Dye said they are hoping for more input, and have plans to send postcards to residents who are members of GCSD and to place a sign on the property near Portola Ave. Finally, they hope to host a Zoom meeting to bring residents together to brainstorm and hear community ideas. All of the comments they receive are being posted on their website, which Marsh thinks is critical to the success of the project.

“One of the things I’m really adamant about is making sure all the input we get is really transparent,” Marsh said.

Marsh said that initial feedback showed that residents are enthusiastic about the idea of a community park on the Burnham Strip. She said 77 percent of respondents of the survey said it was “important” or “very important” to develop a park there. Some main concerns raised are around traffic, but Dye said GCSD doesn’t have jurisdiction over the stretch of Highway 1 adjacent to the strip. Dye said GCSD hopes to work with the county and Connect the Coastside team to improve safety — and if the proposed parallel trail does run through the property, the county may be able to contribute funding to construct that part of the park.

One other major piece of feedback Marsh has heard is that maintaining the ocean views and the natural environment in the park are priorities, and said she hopes the current plan reflects that.

“We are super committed to making this a park that is driven by the community, and the more comments we get in, the better we can do to make that come true,” Marsh said.

The current estimated cost of the project is $6.5 million, but Dye said that number, like the specifics of the project, is subject to change. Dye said the project will be funded by property taxes the GCSD already receives through Proposition 13, and said residents won’t incur any additional costs as a result.

“It means everybody in El Granada gets a little bit of their taxes put back into parks in their community,” Dye said.

Detailed project plans are available on the GCSD website. Residents wishing to submit public comment can send an email to burnham@granada.ca.gov prior to the Sept. 10 deadline.

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