$11 million in funds for renovation, but the county won't be looking to taxpayers to foot the biggest part of the bill.
As the budget for the Department of Parks continues to wane (it's about $7.5 million this fiscal year), and voters nixed a 1/8-cent sales tax increase for supplemental funding at the polls in November, private, nonprofit entities are becoming an increasingly desirable and necessary source of dollars.
"This work wouldn't get done," said Dave Holland, the county's parks and recreation director. "It would be so far out. Our budget is just meeting health and safetyneeds."
The San Mateo County Historical Association plans to begin a campaign to help the county restore the Sanchez Adobe in Pacifica. The plan, which will cost about $6 million in total, was approved by the Board of Supervisors in September, said Holland.
Holland said the association's goal is to raise about
$4 million. That will be enough to restore the adobe and turn the current ranger's residence into a visitor's center.
The site of the adobe was once inhabited by Ohlone Indians, and the Spanish built an outpost there in 1785. Don Francisco Sanchez, a Mexican military commander and mayor of San Francisco, built the present adobe for his family after the Mexican Revolution in 1822.
The remainder for the project will come from the county, which has agreed to complete needed creek repair at the site in
On the other end of the Peninsula, the Friends of Huddart and Wunderlich Parks are in the midst of a campaign to raise $5.2 million to restore the historic Folger Stable in Woodside.
The stable was built in 1905 for the estate of James Folger II, the coffee magnate. In 1956, the stable and 942 acres were sold to Martin Wunderlich, who donated it to the county in 1974. The Folger Estate Stable Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
Anne Wellner De Veer, the campaign coordinator, said that the stable's roof is in bad shape, skylights are boarded up for fear of falling, and converted rooms need restoration to their original intent. The restoration will be part of the county's 20-year Master Plan for Wunderlich and Huddart parks, for which an environmental impact report is now being created.
Wellner De Veer said that $3.3 million will be used for restoration, and the remaining amount raised will be to establish programming and an endowment for ongoing main-tenance. The Friends hope to launch a hands-on school program for third- and fourth-graders, docent-led historical and architectural tours, and twice-yearly community events, such as bringing out historical carriages.
She said they're about halfway toward their fundraising goal, and that the county depends on them to come through.
"They don't have the money to repair the roof or do any of this, so it could soon become a hazard. You have a site that has, in a nutshell, limited access and very little use," Wellner De Veer said. "It will be 300 percent better, and more used, and it will be a jewel in the crown of county parks, so to speak."
Holland said he hopes the projects will be completed in the next five years and he will continue to look for other opportunities to partner with private groups. The county has almost 16,000 acres of parkland and a backlog of maintenance and improvement projects that stands at $112 million.
Charlie Ansbach, a Sacramento-based fundraising consultant who is consulting on the Friends' campaign, said that public-private-partnership projects are increasingly common.
The Leland Stanford Mansion, which is down the street from the state Capitol and sits on state parkland, was restored to become the governor's official reception center after $23 million was raised from a private foundation.
"Those kinds of partnerships are for select, important, mutually beneficial projects," Ansbach said. "It's an opportunity for the local community and the donors there to rally behind a public facility and make it as beautiful as possible in a way that tax dollars can't do."
Staff writer Rebekah Gordon can be reached at (650) 306-2428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.