Talks resume to save Benicia state park

Talks resume to save Benicia state park

Benicia : CA : USA | Jul 07, 2012 at 2:23 PM PDT
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gabrielito245 sra benicia

Talks between state and city officials aimed at keeping Benicia State Recreation Area from closing this month have resumed, a California Resources Agency spokesman said Thursday.

The 500-acre park had been one of five state parks at risk of imminent closure, according to the agency's deputy communications director, Clark Blanchard.

The resumption of talks means the Benicia SRA, along the Carquinez Strait on the city's southwestern shore, is temporarily off the imminent closure list, he said.

"State parks has resumed negotiations with the city of Benicia on an agreement that would allow the park to stay open but with reduced services," Blanchard said.

State officials said the Benicia SRA was placed on that list because there were no active negotiations to keep it open, even though the city's talks with the California Department of Parks and Recreation had only recently broken off.

Budget problems had forced California to threaten to close 70 of its 278 state parks, but officials have been attempting to enter partnerships with nonprofit groups and local communities to share the cost of keeping the facilities operating.

Benicia SRA and Benicia Capitol State Historic Park, just off the city's main street, are the only two state parks in Solano County.

Negotiations are wrapping up on deals to keep the Benicia Capitol park open, Blanchard said.

The city has already agreed to take over landscaping responsibilities at the downtown park, which commemorates the 13 months that Benicia was California's capital city in 1853 and 1854.

The Benicia State Parks Association is attempting to work out an agreement to keep the historic capital building and the adjacent Fischer-Hanlon House open to the public.

"We are continuing to work to get the agreement signed," he said.

That agreement is in the final stages of negotiation and should be finalized shortly, Blanchard said.

The Benicia SRA, known locally as Dillon Point, is on property donated to the state by the family of Patrick Dillon, a Benicia pioneer who purchased the land directly from Mexican Gen. Mariano Vallejo prior to California statehood.

Benicia was the second city incorporated after California joined the United States in 1850.

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Benicia SRA
A portion of the Bay Trail runs through Benicia State Recreation Area, which is threatened with closure under California budget cuts. Credit: San Francisco Bay Trail Project/Wikimedia Commons
Nathan Salant is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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