After its impressive conversion from an old city dump to a bucolic multiuse park with one of the best views in town – financed solely by donations from the community — Elings Park is looking to secure its future by appealing to the public once again.
The next time you go to walk your dog, paraglide, jog, ride your bike, picnic, play soccer, paint, attend a wedding, visit the BMX track or softball fields at the park, you’re likely to be greeted by an Elings supporter requesting donations to help the nonprofit foundation raise the $126,700 it needs to maintain its 364 days a year/from 7 a.m. till sunset level of service.
Unrestricted operating capital — as opposed to money for specific projects — is the hardest kind of money to raise, but it’s also the most critical, said executive director Mike Warren.
“We’ve been running at a deficit for three years, so we’re flirting with disaster,” he said. “If 5,000 people gave us just a little over $25, like $27.30, we’d be there.”
In addition to trying to raise money for operations, Warren has his plate full with plans for the third phase of the park, the lower 23 acres on the left as visitors enter off Las Positas Road. The plan — which includes an international size all-weather soccer facility, an 11,500-square-foot community center, a permanent BMX track, basketball, handball and volleyball courts, and permanent park office space with four additional offices to rent — is undergoing city review now and ready to begin the environmental impact report phase, said Warren. He roughly estimated the total project cost would be about $14 million and the development would happen in phases, as did the earlier growth of the park.
“Phase three or the development of the lower plateau will complete the original 97 acres of what we lease from the city,” said Warren.
Also eventually in the works is what is known as “South Park,” the old Jesuit property above Cliff Drive that currently is zoned by the county for residential and light agricultural use. Jeff Elings Drive and a small parking lot were built earlier this year to allow access to the property from Cliff Drive. Right now the plan is just to continue to use the property “as is” for passive recreational uses such as hiking, mountain biking and paragliding, Warren said.
For more information on the “Elings is MY Park!” campaign and upcoming events at the park, call 569.5611 or visit www.elingspark.org.