In the November 2014 election, voters in Santa Clara County passed Measure Q, aimed at protecting and preserving natural open space areas. Approval of the measure established an annual $24 parcel tax with a 15-year horizon, expected to generate a total of $120 million over that span. According to the official ballot question, the revenue will be used by the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority for “improving parks, open spaces and trails; protecting land around creeks, rivers and streams to prevent pollution and improve local water quality; preserving wildlife habitat; expanding public access; enhancing environmental education; and protecting scenic hillsides.”
The Open Space Authority began receiving the tax revenue in January, and has since commenced allocating it toward achieving Measure Q goals. Last week, the agency announced its first expenditure of parcel tax funds with a grant to the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. The $308,765 expenditure will help pay for a $1,959,213 project entitled “Bridge to Nature: Bill’s Backyard,” a 27,500 square-foot outside exploration space on museum grounds that will include a dry creek bed, raised and vertical growing beds, native and drought-tolerant plantings, water catchment systems, and areas to observe birds and insects. This month marks the start of project construction, with the space tentatively set to open in April 2017.
The grant comes through the Open Space Authority’s Urban Open Space Program, one of several elements in the Measure Q expenditure plan. According to the agency, this new program will seek to improve the quality of life for urban residents by protecting creeks and wildlife, providing access to nature via parks and trails, creating urban farms and community gardens, and engaging youth through nature education. The Open Space Authority intends to work with county and city governments, schools, and community-based organizations to coordinate the program, and is asking the public for its input and ideas in an upcoming series of open meetings:
Wednesday, March 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Gunderson High School’s Room C2 at 622 Gaundabert Lane in San Jose
Monday, April 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Morgan Hill Cultural and Community Center at 17000 Monterey Street in Morgan Hill
Monday, April 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Campbell Community Center at 1 West Campbell Avenue in Campbell
Wednesday, April 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church at 2020 East San Antonio Street in San Jose (This meeting will be conducted in both English and Spanish)
Tuesday, April 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Berryessa Community Center at 3050 Berryessa Road in San Jose
Tuesday, April 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Williman Room at Santa Clara University’s Benson Center at 500 El Camino Real in Santa Clara
Monday, May 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Tully Branch Library at 880 Tully Road in San Jose (This meeting will be conducted in both English and Vietnamese)
For more information, visit openspaceauthority.org or call (408) 224-7476.