The future of parks?
Strapped for cash, Sacramento County is looking to cover its assets when it comes to parks. In a possible sign of the future for county parks, on March 22, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will vote on a controversial deal on Gibson Ranch.
“We’re looking for good solutions to keeping the parks open,” explained Chris Andis, a spokesperson for the county, while adding that Gibson Ranch “could be a prototype” for future public-private parks partnerships.
Under the proposed deal, former congressman and local developer Doug Ose would lease the park for $1 a year and run it as a for-profit operation (with profits to be shared with the county). In a unique arrangement, Ose would also receive $100,000 annually from the county in deferred maintenance. Ose’s proposal for the park includes converting a historic working ranch into a pet motel for cats and dogs and opening a shooting range.
Andis said the county turned to Ose as their only option. “Keep in mind we would have had to spend the $100,000 just to ‘mothball’ the property,” Andis told SN&R.
Even so, Sacramento County’s proposed arrangement with Ose hasn’t passed the smell test with park supporters. A county citizen’s committee gave the Ose proposal an average of 62 out of 100 points.
With the park home to wildlife and a nature preserve, Ose’s record as a naturalist is also stinky. As a congressman, he received a 15 rating out of 100 on environmental issues from the League of Conservation Voters. In 2003, The Associated Press also reported that the-Rep. Ose lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken clean-water regulations for businesses that contributed to his campaign.
But politics makes for strange bedfellows, and the county says the proposed Ose hookup will be a “win-win.”
“Most importantly,” Andis said, “we want to get the park open so that the community can enjoy it.”