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Bedwell Bayfront Park Master Plan

From: domainremoved <Kathy>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2017 17:48:18 -0800

Dear Mayor Keith and Councilmembers Ohtaki, Mueller, Carlton, and Cline:

As a long-time Menlo Park resident, I see Bedwell Bayfront Park as a unique gem in our community. Its large, quiet open space right here in Menlo Park allows for a quick escape from the noisy, built environment where most of us spend our days. Unlike any other park in our city, Bedwell Bayfront offers views across the Bay, the adjacent National Wildlife Refuge, and the salt pond restoration project. This park offers the unique opportunity to share space with wildlife including songbirds, shorebirds, raptors, foxes, and more – all within City limits.

I have been involved in the Bedwell Bayfront Park Master Plan process since it began. I strongly support keeping the park as-is, while addressing the park’s critical maintenance and safety issues without adding new activities and so-called enhancements.

Any development or improvements proposed for Bedwell Bayfront Park should ensure protection of its quiet setting and natural resources. Similarly, any development or improvements should be allowed only if they take advantage of this park’s unique setting and characteristics.

I would like to ask Council to adopt ONLY the portions of Master Plan that prioritize maintenance and safety.

1. Please approve the addition of a ranger and improved maintenance.

The proposed Master Plan before you would add a ranger to the park, which will make the park safer and cleaner. Similarly, the Master Plan addresses some of the long-deferred park maintenance, including trails that are in disrepair.

2. Please reject inappropriate uses: no dog park, no play area, no gliders, no kayak launch.

Some of the uses proposed in the draft Master Plan are not appropriate for this quiet, natural environment. Specifically, the dog park, play area, glider use, and kayak launch are inconsistent with this quiet open space and surrounding wildlife. I urge you to protect our open space and our wildlife by ensuring that the Master Plan rejects all of these uses.

Unlike any other park in town, Bedwell Bayfront has important wildlife habitat – foxes, burrowing owl (populations of which are declining), many species of resident and migrating birds, and other wildlife all live in or pass through the park. Off-leash dogs, whether on trails or in special areas, disturb and threaten this wildlife, and should not be allowed. Further, the noise generated by off-leash areas is unpleasant for park visitors. If Menlo Park residents need more dog parks, these would be far more appropriate in an urban park closer to residences.

Similarly, the use of model gliders (and any aircraft) as well as of kayaks (and other watercraft) can disturb birds and other wildlife. These are simply not appropriate in Bedwell Bayfront Park.

If City residents do indeed have a need for these uses in our parks, the upcoming City-wide Parks Master Plan Process offers the ideal time to identify the proper locations.

3. Please identify funding for Bedwell Bayfront Park in the General Fund. The notion that the Master Plan process should identify ways for the park to generate revenue is merely a dream that we might find something to replace the park’s wasting endowment. Funding for Bedwell Bayfront, as for ALL of our parks, should be provided through the City’s General Fund.

Menlo Park has made a success story of turning a landfill into a lovely quiet open space with views of and access to one of the most innovative habitat restoration projects in the nation, and offering habitat adjacent to the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The result is a lovely, natural open space – unlike any of our other parks. Please ensure that the Master Plan keeps it that way.

Thank you.

Kathy Switky

Menlo Park
Received on Mon Nov 13 2017 - 17:53:06 PST

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