California parks to stay open in Solano County

California parks to stay open in Solano County

Benicia : CA : USA | Jul 04, 2012 at 4:57 PM PDT
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Solano County's two state parks will not be closing on July 1 but will stay open for at least three weeks and possibly longer, California officials said this week.

More than $20 million was allocated to the financially troubled state parks system in California's budget for the new fiscal year that began July 1, Natural Resources Agency spokesman Clark Blanchard said.

That money will be used to keep paying for operations and improvements at 69 state parks, including the two in Benicia, Solano County's oldest city.

The 69 parks were among 70 marked for closure under state budget cuts, but 40 of them will be staying open under agreements reached between California and local nonprofits and municipalities that agreed to assume most of the expenses.

Negotiations involving 25 of the parks are continuing, Blanchard said.

Benicia was the state capital in 1853 and 1854, a few years after California joined the United States, and its restored old capitol is the centerpiece of Benicia Capitol State Historic Park on the city's main street.

Benicia State Recreation Area, 500-acres of mostly wetlands on the city's southwest shoreline, was the site of a brickyard owned by one of Benicia's first residents, Patrick Dillon, who acquired the property from Gen. Mariano Vallejo.

Vallejo was a powerful Mexican landowner in Northern California before the territory was acquired by the United States as part of an informal treaty in 1847 before the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848.

Agreements have been reached to save Benicia Capitol State Historic Park, Blanchard said, but not the recreation area.

Blanchard said deals are pending with 25 parks but five -- Benicia SRA among them -- will be closing when the extra money runs out.

"If we just had $40 million, all the parks could stay open," he said.

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Benicia Capitol
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park commemorates the 13 months that the small Solano County city was the capital of the new state of California.
Nathan Salant is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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