Restrooms have been reopened at the parks operated by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, offering visitors relief when nature calls.
The open space district has also reopened its off-leash dog area at Pulgas Ridge Preserve near Redwood City and its picnic tables at the Purisima Creek, Skyline Ridge and Windy Hill open space preserves.
The district's backpacking camp at Black Mountain in the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve and permit-only parking lots at El Sereno, Monte Bello and La Honda Creek are now open, too.
Visitors are still required to maintain safe social distances of 6 feet from people not in their household and wear face coverings when they can't do so. Masks are recommended at all times when recreating outdoors.
Paper maps are not available, so people are advised to download a map before leaving home or taking a photo of the maps at park entrances before they hike.
The open space district advises checking on Google Maps to get real-time data on how busy an area is before traveling there. People are advised to avoid areas when parking lots are full.
Access the latest updates here.
San Mateo County's property assessment roll increased by $16.7 billion, or 7.02%, over last year, according to a June 30 announcement by county Assessor Mark Church.
"The combined assessment roll has increased by $113.7 billion from 10 years ago. This is the tenth consecutive year in which a new historical high has been set," Church said in a statement.
Since the Jan. 1 lien date for 2020, however, much has changed, Church said.
The shelter-in-place mandate likely impacted retail and hotel properties. Many property owners of commercial and residential properties lost rent and are subject to eviction moratoriums, he said. "We anticipate that these disruptions will have a negative impact on the 2021-22 Assessment Roll," he said.
The unemployment rate in San Mateo County, while it has risen to 11.6%, he said, is still the second-lowest in the state, and the local tech and life science industries are strong. It's still not clear what the pandemic's impact on single family home values will be, but early indications show that demand still outweighs supply for homes in the county, Church said.
The city of Menlo Park ranked fourth in the county for the highest percentage growth in assessed value at 9.22%. In the top three were Brisbane at 14.3%, Burlingame at 11.2% and South San Francisco at 10.9%. Menlo Park also ranked fourth in the county among cities with the highest dollar growth in assessed value, at $1.91 billion. Ranked higher were South San Francisco at $2.27 billion, San Mateo at $2.15 billion and Redwood City at $1.98 billion.
Menlo Park ranked second for the most new commercial development at 10.4 million square feet of new commercial space pending, approved or under construction, second only to Redwood City, which has 15.2 million square feet of new commercial space in the works.
The Menlo Park Library has moved its events online and has announced its July lineup of activities, offering virtual events featuring animals, zines and music alongside practical webinars on how to find a job during the pandemic or stay focused while writing. Here are a few events:
● Tuesday, July 7, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. "Safari Encounters." Through Zoom, meet and learn about a snake, alligator, armadillo, baby ring-tailed lemur and sloth.
● Wednesday, July 8, from 7 to 8 p.m. "Your Career after COVID: Finding a Job in Uncertain Times." Career adviser Dylan Houle, director of career services at Menlo College, offers advice on how to get one's career back on track if it was disrupted by the pandemic.
● Tuesday, July 14, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. "The Writer's Life: Staying Focused in the Time of Pandemic." A panel of Bay Area writers will discuss strategies you can apply to writing or just life in general.
● Saturday, July 18, 11 a.m. to noon. "So, What are You?" Storyteller Judi Le tells her story about fleeing Vietnam, living in a refugee camp in Arkansas and settling in Katy, Texas.
● Tuesday, July 20, from 2 to 3 p.m. "Zines: A Self-Portrait in 6 Panels." Artist Breana Nunez will guide virtual attendees through how to make a mini-comic about oneself.
● Saturday, July 25, from 1 to 2 p.m. "Live Music with the Corner Laughers." Karla Kane, lead singer and ukelele player (who is also Embarcadero Media's arts editor) will be giving a free performance with her band, the Corner Laughers.
● Monday, July 27, from 5 to 6 p.m. "Collecting Community History: The West During COVID-19." Tyree Boyd-Pates, associate curator of Western history at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, will give a presentation about the museum's project to collect artifacts and information about how people have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Access the full list of events here.