October 2018

Your Letters and Thoughts October 2018

Vote Yes for Sales Tax

On September 21st, the community will break ground on the long-awaited Felton Library project, the result of a decade of planning and a vote by Santa Cruz County voters to support Measure S, a 2016 library bond measure that is already providing funding for new li- braries throughout the county.

While the Felton Library Friends are proud to see the new library come to fruition, we are equally proud of how it has evolved over the years. The project is no longer just a place to read, study, or connect with your community and the rest of the world. It also includes the Felton Library Nature Discovery Park, an outdoor education experience that is the first of its kind in Santa Cruz

County and the first outdoor education facility paired with a modern library anywhere in California.

Felton Library Friends has many partners in this project, including the Santa Cruz County Parks Department, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, the Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works, and the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. The California Outdoor Environmental Education Facilities Grant Program also contributed a $395,000 grant toward the Nature Dis- covery Park.

Now we are asking for your help.

In November, voters throughout Santa Cruz County will have a chance to vote on Measure G, a half-cent sales tax that would apply only in the unin- corporated area. If approved, the tax would keep sales taxes at or below the levels in our local cities, and would ex- pire after 12 years.

During the life of the tax, commu- nity members can expect to see many benefits, including additional public safety, behavioral health and homeless services. But I want to talk about parks.

Much of the Measure G funding

would go toward parks, including com- pletion of the Felton Library Nature Discovery Park. The park has many community benefits, including restora- tion of Bull Creek, an outdoor learning space for environmental literacy pro- gramming, interactive nature discovery zones and an interpretive nature loop trail. By matching the $395,000 state grant, Measure G will help provide an amazing refuge right in the heart of downtown Felton, and a wonderful hands-on educational facility for our youth.

But there are other benefits to Meas- ure G as well. Measure G will serve as the final piece of the financial puzzle for LEO’s Haven at Chanticleer Park in Live Oak, which will be the County’s first all-inclusive playground allowing children of all physical abilities to play together, demonstrating for our kids that we are not bound by our limitations.

Measure G will also provide $235,000 of matching funds for the Farm Park along Soquel Drive, unlock- ing $440,000 in other funding and im- proving Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility, safety lighting and pathways throughout the park.

That’s not all. Measure G will pro- vide matching funds of $530,000, free- ing up $1 million in secured grants to create a linear parkway providing greater connectivity between Soquel Creek, Heart of Soquel Park, the Soquel Village Commercial Corridor, Soquel Elemen- tary School and Lions Park. It will also fund more than $1million in improve- ments to Simpkins Family Swim Cen- ter, expanding programming options at the pool while saving water.

Money would also be set aside to renovate Aptos Village Park facilities to improve and expand the use of that park, as well as $250,000 for South County parks. And additional funding would go toward parks operations and maintenance to help sustain these new community assets.

Lastly, the County is committed to getting these project underway as soon as possible. If Measure G is approved, the County has plans to advance these projects immediately. We will see imme- diate benefits.

Measure G represents the largest community investment in our County parks in ages. I urge you to join me in voting yes on Measure G this Novem- ber, not just for those of us who will visit the Felton Library Nature Discovery Center, but for children with disabilities who need LEO’s Haven, and the out- door-minded throughout Santa Cruz County who know and love our parks.

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