Questions and Answers

What is the vision for this park?

This new nine-acre park will provide nature trails for walking and bicycling, tidal wetlands for wildlife habitat and nature study, lawns for picnicking, and a Bay access point for kayaking and other water sports.  The park will serve as an essential natural refuge in an increasingly developed region.

Who owns the land?
We all do! This land parcel is held in the public trust by the State Lands Commission, a state agency tasked with managing submerged and tidal lands for the benefit of all Californians. Note that these lands are not suitable sites for housing projects.
How did this park proposal come about?
In July 2019 the SLC issued an invitation to bid on a 49-year lease for this undeveloped land parcel. A public-private coalition developed the plan for a nature park to benefit the public and was awarded an initial three-year lease in October 2019.
Who are the key stakeholders in the project?

The park is being developed by a public-private partnership between the San Mateo Resource Conservation District (RCD) and The SPHERE Institute. The San Mateo RCD, a public, community-based entity that serves as a land steward for the people of San Mateo County, is helping to secure funding and oversee construction of the park. The SPHERE Institute is a not-for-profit public policy research firm situated on land adjacent to the land parcel where the park will be built. SPHERE is managing the development of Shoreline Park in Burlingame, including design, approvals and future construction, and has committed major financial resources to the effort to make the vision a reality. Together, these two organizations are working with the State Lands Commission and the City of Burlingame to build and maintain this nature park for the long term as a shared benefit to the public.

How will a nature park in this location benefit people?
Research shows that people’s mental and physical health benefits from access to nature, especially bodies of water. Local residents, employees of surrounding businesses, and visitors from the Bay Area and beyond will have access to this natural resource and its benefits in many ways. Nearby employees will be able to visit the park during their lunch hour, improving both morale and productivity. Kayakers from around the Bay will use this park to access the water, and hikers and bicyclists will be connected to the 350-mile Bay Trail. The general public will be able to picnic, exercise, and go fishing at the park.
In what way does this new park impact environmental justice?
This shoreline has the lowest percentage of open space and parks and the highest percentage of industrial and infrastructure land uses of any of the 30 Operational Landscape Units identified by the SFEI San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas.  Protecting this property as a park will create a unique opportunity for under-resourced communities in the area to access open space along the Bay.
How will this park serve as a demonstration project to mitigate climate change-related flooding?
Shoreline Park in Burlingame will provide an opportunity to implement a nature-based approach to guarding against sea level rise, instead of relying on a hardened concrete sea wall to protect the property. A gradually sloping tidal marshland will serve as a “green” or “horizontal levee,” making room for storm surges that would overtop traditional engineered levees. There is space near the back of the site to integrate a more hardened solution if required by Burlingame’s sea level rise plan.

Sea level rise is a statewide problem and requires statewide solutions. The fact is, sea level in the Bay and along the California coast is rising and will continue to rise: Water levels could rise an additional 16 inches in the Bay by 2050, and the State of California is planning for a rise of 55 inches by 2100. (Source: Bay Institute: bayecotarium.org/about/the-bay-institute/bay-restoration/horizontal-levee)

Investing now in a tidal wetland on this parcel of land provides a green infrastructure solution that will protect this land from flooding, by absorbing high waters and reducing wave heights during storms. This “green levee” will serve as a demonstration project for other lands around the state as we develop solutions to address climate change-caused sea level rise.

What type of funding sources are being pursued?
The projected cost for the park is $15.5 million. The partnership is pursuing private, corporate and individual donations and is also applying for funds from various public sources that have been earmarked for this type of project. On the public side, for example, in 2016, Measure AA, the Clean and Healthy Bay Initiative, passed with 71.98% support in San Mateo County, raising millions for projects that help to protect and restore the Bay. In 2018, Prop 68, the Clean Water and Safe Parks Act, passed with 68% in San Mateo County. Prop 68 authorizes $4 billion in investments in habitat restoration, climate resilience, parks, water quality and flood protection throughout the state. There are over $200 million in other restoration funds available through the state. The San Mateo RCD has working relationships with the granting agencies responsible for overseeing these funds. Grant applications to public funds are viewed most favorably when paired with matching private donations, whether from foundations, corporations or individual donors. Contributions from community members and organizations will be critical to bringing Shoreline Park in Burlingame to life.
Are there naming or branding opportunities for major donors?
Major donors – whether individuals, foundations, or businesses – will have the opportunity to name significant park features, such as the central lawn that will provide opportunities for community gatherings, the park entry plaza, and key water access areas.

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