A 2-acre dog park, a non-motorized boat launch, a playground, an amphitheater, outdoor fitness facilities, and wheelchair-accessible trails are among ideas for changes being considered for Bedwell Bayfront Park in Menlo Park.
The city recently launched a process to update the park's master plan, which lays out goals for the park over the next 25 years. The 160-acre park located at the bayside terminus of Marsh Road was once the site of a dump; it was converted into a park in the 1980s.
A community meeting to get feedback on alternative plans for the park will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at the Menlo Park Senior Center, 110 Terminal Ave. People who wish to comment on the concept plans can fill out an online survey before Aug. 10.
The park's operational funding source is set to run out in about three years, city staff say. Operational funds come from a dwindling pool of money that built up when the park was a dump, where people paid to get rid of their waste.
The pool of funds has been shrinking since the park was created. To stretch the existing funds farther, the park's ranger position was eliminated in 2011.
Finding a way to fund the park is a major concern, and a wide range of options are being considered – including adopting parking fees, staff say.
Park plan concepts
Concept plan A has an emphasis on accessibility, according to documents produced by consultant Callander Associates Landscape Architecture. There are plans for a 2-acre dog park, a fitness course, a small nature play area and amphitheater, and a non-motorized boat launch. Trails would add up to 5 miles: 4 miles of asphalt and a 1-mile "treated" trail, designed to not degrade in poor weather. This plan would provide a space where hand- and radio-controlled gliders and model airplanes could be flown.
Concept plan B has an emphasis on education, with plans for geocaching and orienteering features, a large amphitheater and "destination" nature play area. There would be about 4.4 miles of trails, with 3.8 miles paved with asphalt and 0.6 of a mile of "treated" trails.
Both plans would involve paving portions of the Bay Trail with asphalt, planting trees to screen the sewage facility onsite, renovating the Great Spirit Path (a guided reflection path at the park), making at least one big "summit" hill accessible for wheelchairs and restoring habitats.
Preliminary cost estimates for both concept plans indicates a range of $10 to $15 million.
The final park plan will have to address the risk of sea level rise and how it might impact the park, said Derek Schweigart, Menlo Park's assistant community services director.
The concept plans are an early step in a process that is still very much in the community feedback phase, he said.
"People could say no" to the ideas proposed, he said.
Both plans are designed to reflect different concepts of "passive" recreation, he noted, but added: "You can ask 10 different people and get 10 different answers on what they think is passive recreation."
In 2007, voters overwhelmingly passed an advisory measure restricting the park's use to "passive recreation."
In August 2016, the City Council voted to ban people from flying drones, hand-powered gliders and model airplanes in the park, but left the ban open for reconsideration when the park's master plan is updated.