Parks may get big money boost
July 24, 2012
A veritable state parks windfall of $54 million may help keep some facilities from closing after Gov. Jerry Brown met Monday with lawmakers to discuss the matter. (San Francisco Chronicle)
It was learned late last week that the department had squirreled away the money for more than a decade, even as parks began closing and other department functions began slowing because of a lack of funding.
Elizabeth Ashford, a spokeswoman for Brown, told reporters that the governor’s administration “is going to work with legislators to determine how this money can be used to mitigate park closures.”
After disclosure of the unused money, Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned, and her deputy was fired.
“It is just appalling,” said Ann Briggs of the Coe Park Preservation Fund, which gave the state $279,000 in private money to keep Henry W. Coe State Park in Santa Clara County open this year.
“We don’t know what to think. Our reaction has been one of total surprise, total shock that this has happened. We are not sure what is going to be the next step.”
According to the Chronicle, the state slashed the parks department budget by more than $50 million over the past four years. Additionally, the parks department has deferred $1.3 billion in maintenance.