ALAMO -- For years, Alamo residents have longed for more parks in their community. Now, they might be getting closer to their wish.
Alamo Municipal Advisory Council members are eyeing a 0.70-acre piece of land at Hemme Avenue and Danville Boulevard for a mini park near the Iron Horse Trail.
The plot has been declared surplus property by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. The council hopes to use its park and recreation fund -- there is about $4 million in R7-A Districtmoney -- to buy the site.
The council voted 5-0 in a special meeting Thursday to recommend Contra Costa County Supervisor Candace Andersen enter into negotiations with the fire district for the purchase of the land at a mutually agreed upon, fair-market price.
If it is determined the land can't be used for a park, it would be resold and that revenue would be returned to the parks fund, council members said. Members David Bowlby and Steve Mick did not attend the meeting."It would make a great trail site on the Iron Horse Trail," said council chairman David Barclay, who "strongly supports" the land acquisition. "I think it's a great opportunity to create an asset for the community of Alamo."
Other councilors agreed. "Because there's no other piece of land that's next to the trail in Alamo that we have any chance of getting, I think, in my opinion, it's a no-brainer to go forward," said councilor Ed Best.
The fire district decided to declare the stretch of land that connects Danville Boulevard with the trail as surplus after it found another site at Stone Valley Road and Miranda Avenue to build a second fire station in Alamo, said Chief Paige Meyer.
As part of the process, the district was required to offer the land for sale to other governmental agencies for a 60-day period, before putting it up on the open real estate market. However, that period ended in late February, with no takers. So, it'll be up to the fire district's board to decide whether to accept the request, even though it's past deadline. The matter will be discussed in a closed executive session during the board's March 26 meeting.
"We're at a point we can market it and move forward," Meyer said. "At the same time, I know this board values the community of Alamo as district stakeholders, so the fire district's board will discuss it and I'm confident the board will make the best decision for the district and the community."
A few residents urged the county not to buy it.
Nancy Dommes, a former council member, said in an email that it was a risk to pursue a residential land purchase without knowing what's in the soil, especially since a gas station once was on the site. Others said they worried the parcel is too small and there wouldn't be enough space for parking.
However, resident Cecily Barclay said that any potential environmental issues would have to be disclosed during negotiations and the site would be excellent public resting place for families traveling the trail,
"And I'm sure that if this property goes up for sale, it'll be snapped up by a residential developer by tomorrow if this motion doesn't pass," she told the council.
Councilor Susan Rock said she contacted a number of area mothers and bicycling groups, which were enthusiastic about the plan.
"The idea of having something trailside resonates with people," she said.
Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/JoyceTsaiNews.