38-acre South County Park purchase plan approved

SANTA CRUZ– The Santa Cruz County Oversight Board, at its Tuesday meeting, unanimously approved a plan to purchase a piece of land in Watsonville, hoping to someday convert it to a public park .

The 38.5-acre parcel at 188 Whiting Road, located next to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, is currently zoned for commercial and agricultural purposes. It is valued at just over $ 3.1 million.

The plans are far from over. County officials have yet to find funding, obtain permits and complete environmental impact studies.

But county officials envision the property as one day providing space for recreational activities, a mile-long nature trail, and a 15-acre demonstration farm and educational bay, the proceeds of which could help fund the costs of annual park maintenance.

“I’m really excited,” said Jeff Gaffney, director of the Department of Parks, Open Spaces and Cultural Services. “It’s a very robust ground with a lot of opportunities. It ticks all the boxes for the needs of the community.

The board gave the credit to 4th District Supervisor Greg Caput, who they say has been a tireless advocate for additional park space in South County, which falls far short of the many. national per capita recommendations for park space.

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