Despite a bill that passed the state senate last week promising not to close any state parks for two years and to match all private donations to parks with $20 million found in a special fund last month, local Adobe State Historic Park advocates remain hesitant to celebrate until they find out how the bill will affect the money they've already raised.
In response to news that the parks department would have to close 70 parks statewide due to budget shortfalls, community groups like Save the Adobe rallied earlier this year to raise funds needed to keep each of the parks open for one year.
Not long after, a previously undisclosed $54 million was found in a special parks fund, about $20 million of which could have been spent to keep state parks open.
In response to public outcry, Assembly Bill 1478 was introduced to keep state parks open for two years, match donations to fuel support and provide extra money earmarked for audits and investigations of park finances. It also called for the creation of a public oversight commission to monitor the state parks department's actions.
Adobe advocates hope their park will get its share of that $20 million and says it could be used to work on long-deferred maintenance issues at the park.
"We're hoping that some of this state money will get earmarked for our maintenance, but we need some official comment from the state," said Save The Adobe Chairman Philip Sales. "It sounds like a positive program and like they're going the right direction so far. But we just want to see what the plan is going to be."
The bill will now return to the governor's desk for consideration.
Sales, who is meeting with the Save the Adobe board on Tuesday, said that he will recommend to the board that the nonprofit stop giving the state monthly installments of the money it raised to keep the park open until the board can figure out how everything will work if the bill is passed.
"I am suggesting to the board to hold off on our October payment," Sales said, "because otherwise, we are just putting money in the state's hands that we no longer have any control over."
The Save the Adobe group will meet Sept. 11 to discuss this and what future maintenance they want to tackle this year, should they receive funding from the state.
(Contact Janelle Wetzstein at email@example.com)
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