DUBLIN -- A home builder has offered to give 2.5 square miles of grasslands for a new regional park here -- creating what would be one of the largest single open space acquisitions in the East Bay.
Braddock & Logan Homes Inc. has offered to contribute 1,615 acres to the East Bay Regional Park District to expand a 640-acre regional park in Doolan Canyon on the northeastern flank of fast-growing Dublin.
The park with rolling hills straddling two counties is not yet open to hikers, picnickers and other visitors because it's not big enough and there are no visitor facilities.
"We are very pleased that the park district and Braddock & Logan are working on adding such a large amount of open space in our area," Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti. "This is about providing balanced growth in our area."
The land donation would enlarge a park that would include Doolan Canyon in Alameda County and part of the Tassajara Valley in Contra Costa County.
Braddock & Logan announced its land offer in mid-December as it received Dublin City Council approval for the 370-home Moller Ranch subdivision east of Tassajara Road in northeast Dublin. The Moller Ranch project is adjacent to the 1,615 acres the developer has offered to give for the park.
Preserving the large area provides recreation and scenery for future Moller Ranch residents and the public at large, a Braddock & Logan representative said.
"The Moller project is uniquely situated such that a substantial amount of open space can be offered to the public in accordance with the plans envisioned by leaders of Dublin," Andy Byde, the Moller Ranch project manager, said in an email.
There are issues to be ironed out, though.
Before the land can be accepted for a park, arrangements must be made on how to pay for maintaining and developing the recreation access, said Bob Doyle, the park district general manager.
"This proposal is a very big deal. It's an exciting opportunity," Doyle said. "But it costs money to open and maintain park land and make it accessible to the public."
Operating the largest regional park system in America with more than 112,000 acres, the two-county park district is straining to find money to open new park areas. Some are kept in land-bank status for years, largely closed to visitor use. In some areas, homeowners in new developments that contribute land to the park district are assessed fees to maintain the new park land.
Talks between the park district and Braddock & Logan on details of a land-transfer deal are going to be held this month, officials said. The proposed land donation would protect environmentally rich habitat for eagles, hawks, the endangered California red-legged frog and the threatened California tiger salamander, conservationists say.
Seth Adams, Save Mount Diablo's land programs manager, said he once observed six golden eagles during a 90-minute visit to the edge of the property.
"This proposal is very promising," Adams said. "But until the contract and agreements are made, nothing is certain."
The Tassajara Valley area in Contra Costa County has had a long history of tensions over where to develop and preserve land. Contra Costa voters in 2006 reaffirmed tight restrictions on development in much of the Tassajara Valley. Open space preservation is becoming a hotter topic in Dublin. Candidates in the last City Council election expressed concerned about the lack of growth boundaries for eastern Dublin.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.