Senate Bill 365 Signed: Next Step, Creating a Park and Open Space District in Solano County
Greenbelt Alliance and our partners are celebrating a big milestone in the creation of a Countywide Park and Open Space District in Solano County. Last week, Senate Bill 365 (Dodd) was signed by Governor Brown, giving the go-ahead for the county Board of Supervisors to pursue creating the district.
Today, Solano is the only county in the nine-county Bay Area that does not have a park and open space district. But together with local residents and organizations, we’re looking to change that. With 78% of people polled in support of creating a district and 89% agreeing that the availability of nearby parks, trails, and recreation improves quality of life, it is clear that residents are overwhelmingly supportive of protecting and stewarding their local parks and natural landscapes.
We’re making it happen by ushering the approval of SB365 at the state level, and next, supporting a ballot measure in Solano County.
While SB365 is a big win and vital next step, Solano County residents will not officially have a Park and Open Space District unless voters approve it via a ballot measure—which will likely be included in the 2018 or 2020 election.
Why do we need Countywide Park and Open Space Districts?
Treasured natural lands throughout the Bay Area and across the state of California are often maintained and managed by “special districts” called Countywide Park and Open Space Districts. If you have stepped foot on a trail in the region, it is likely that you were on lands purchased or maintained by an open space district.
Countywide Park and Open Space Districts create a system of parklands in a particular area. The districts preserve and protect natural areas and also operate a system of public parks, which include trails, educational programming, and outdoor recreational facilities.
An important factor is that parks are expensive to maintain and improve. An established district is able to apply for grant funding and collect private donations to continually improve the beloved local lands within the district’s boundaries. Without this necessary funding ability, parks and trails can fall into disrepair.
Greenbelt Alliance is working closely with the County, each of the seven Solano cities, park district advocates, and residents to make the district a reality. We will work closely with our partners to plan for and coordinate the upcoming ballot measure campaign which, if successful, will create the district.
If you want to stay on top of this issue, sign on here to lend your voice of support and receive email updates as the campaign progresses.