Palo Alto and Stanford University received $10 million Tuesday to expand recreational offerings for Peninsula residents.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to award that sum in response to a proposal submitted by the city and university. The funds will be drawn from a $10.4 million payment Stanford made to offset impacts to recreational facilities caused by on-campus development.

Two projects will receive the lion's share of the funding. Supervisors allocated $4.5 million for a perimeter trail around Stanford and $4 million for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge where Adobe Creek crosses Highway 101 in Palo Alto.

The city also received $1.5 million to help build a bicycle and pedestrian pathway along Matadero Creek.

"This proposal will greatly expand recreational opportunities for Stanford residents and facility users as well as Palo Altans and Santa Clara County residents as a whole," said Palo Alto Council Member Sid Espinosa.

"One of my favorite aspects is that we'll have the long-sought, uninterrupted route from the Bay all the way up to the Skyline ridge."

The board allocated the rest of the money -- roughly $400,000 -- to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for the Dumbarton link of the Bay Trail near East Palo Alto.

Those projects were among a total of 15 submitted by six agencies for funding consideration.

The $10.4 million is a product of an agreement the university struck with the county for permission to expand by 5 million square feet in 2000. The money was initially set aside to rebuild a trail along Alpine Road, between Portola Valley and Menlo Park, in San Mateo County.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, however, rejected the offer, and the money returned to Santa Clara County earlier this year.

Although the vote was unanimous Tuesday, there was initial disagreement among the supervisors about which projects to fund.

Supervisor Liz Kniss wasn't in favor of funding the entire perimeter trail, specifically a section along Stanford Avenue that would eliminate 20 parking spaces for the popular Dish trail.

"This is in my district. I know how popular this area is, and I believe if we go ahead with this major change on a county road that I'm going to hear a great deal from the public or the person who sits here in January will hear a great deal from the public," said Kniss, who is wrapping up her final term on the board.

However, Stanford said it would not dedicate a permanent public easement along the perimeter trail without full funding.

"The dedication of public use, to me, is very, very important," said Supervisor Mike Wasserman.

Wasserman also said the projects ultimately supported by the board represented the best bang for the buck.

"If you have limited dollars, it's kind of nice to spend money on (projects) that provide a benefit for the most number of people," the supervisor said. "That has some merit with me."

To appease some of Kniss' concerns, the board agreed to require Stanford to hold at least two public meetings on the perimeter trail.

Supervisor David Cortese also expressed reservations about the funding decision. Along with Kniss, he wanted to allocate $2.1 million for the Dumbarton link of the Bay Trail. It would complete a 26-mile segment, stretching from Redwood City to Alviso, which lies in Cortese's district.

He said the board was passing up an opportunity to significantly expand recreational facilities in an area that has precious few.

"This is really a great case study for a political science class -- maybe at Stanford, maybe at San Jose State -- on why East Palo Alto continues to be East Palo Alto, why Alviso continues to be Alviso, and why we can't pick up 60 miles of Bay Trail when we have the opportunity," Cortese said.

"It's all good, but it's certainly a classic case of the rich get richer and the poor stay where they're at."

Email Jason Green at jgreen@dailynewsgroup.com; follow him at twitter.com/jgreendailynews.