One of Half Moon Bay’s more underutilized parks got a major contribution from the state last month that the city hopes will speed up development and bolster the local arts scene.
Thanks to some last-minute efforts and ongoing relationships between the city and state Assemblyman Marc Berman, the state budget has designated $4.75 million for the John L. Carter Memorial Park Renovation Project in Half Moon Bay.
Berman, whose District 24 includes Half Moon Bay, advocated for the funding as part of Senate Bill 129 Budget Act of 2021, which the Legislature passed on June 28. Berman visited Half Moon Bay and Carter Park two years ago and noted its potential to be a community hub for music festivals and events.
The city’s Parks Master Plan identified Carter Park, located near the Main Street Bridge between the Stone Pine Shopping Center and Pilarcitos Creek, as an underutilized open space near Half Moon Bay’s downtown. The proposed development includes a new 440-person capacity amphitheater, stage, playground, restrooms and walking trail at Pilarcitos Creek. The plans also call for increased signage and a ramp near the staircase to make the park more accessible Once completed, the renovations are expected to bolster the park’s plays and musical events.
The $4.75 million is expected to go toward construction. In total, the project is estimated to cost $6 million. The city has raised more than $550,000 for the project but doesn’t have all the funds to cover those remaining expenses. City officials say they will likely need other grants or slowly raise funds to pay for completion.
City Manager Bob Nisbet told the City Council in mid-June that staff received notice from Berman’s office that it had three hours to apply for Carter Park funds. The city formally sent a letter with Berman to the governor and the State Budget Committee on June 16.
“If it slips through this year, because it’s one of those budget years, that would be an enormous coup for the city,” Nisbet told the council on June 15.
The city has been hoping the state would fund the renovations since 2019 when it asked Berman to request $1 million for planning costs. Those funds were not cleared two years ago, and the pandemic delayed further progress last year.