City officials are asking the Benicia City Council to approve a one-year deal to pay for basic services at Benicia State Recreation Area in an effort to keep the park from being closed under California budget cuts.
The deal, apparently the result of months of on-and-off negotiations with officials of the state Department of Parks and Recreation, would commit the city to pay the cost of maintaining water, garbage and bathroom services at the 500-acre park.
The city council is scheduled to consider the agreement when it meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Benicia City Hall at 250 East L St.
City negotiators say the $15,000 deal is only the first step toward a larger agreement that would keep the park open to pedestrians and vehicles at least five days a week.
"Staff is treating these agreements as a first step in a longer process to restore all services to the SRA including vehicle access," the staff report says.
"To that end, staff is working with regional partners with the goal of developing a larger more comprehensive Donor Agreement that would provide the State sufficient resources to operate and maintain the SRA to 'pre-closure' standards," the report says.
Benicia State Recreation Area, on the city's southwestern shoreline, was the property of Patrick Dillon, a Benicia pioneer who bought the property from Gen. Mariano Vallejo, for whom the city of Vallejo was named.
The park, made up largely by coastal wetlands, is a popular hiking and fishing destination known locally as Dillon Point. It is one of only two state parks in Solano County, and both have been threatened with closure.
The other Solano County state park, Benicia Capitol State Historic Park, is believed to have been kept open for up to two years through a combination of deals with the city and a local nonprofit group.
Officials and residents hope the state's budget situation will improve substantially by the time the arrangements expire.
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park on the city's main street commemorates the 13 months that it was the capital of California in 1853 and 1854.
The historic park features the original capital building and a home that was moved to the site in 1858.