Letters to the Editor: Hiking Fees and Kind Strangers

Fee Hikes Rankle

Recently, the City of San Rafael approved fee hikes for the public library, parks and recreation, and child care services. It’s been 10 years since the citywide fee schedule has been updated. The City hired MGT Consulting to assess the fees, comparing fees with similar communities. Not mentioned in the assessment was the seven-year agreement between the City and Terrapin Crossroads to lease Beach Park, a publicly owned, three-quarter-acre waterfront site adjacent to Terrapin, which is up for renewal in September. The lease could be renewed, or the park could revert back to the public.

Terrapin Crossroads has turned this public property into a successful family-friendly concert venue serving food and beverages. It now appears to be an important and profitable part of the operation. In the initiating lease, Terrapin was to pay the City $15,000 a year in rent which would be offset by any improvements made by Terrapin. Terrapin holds many events at Beach Park, and it seems likely that Terrapin could net $15,000 with a couple of events. During any lease renewal meeting, might it be wise for the City to propose a profit-sharing arrangement with Terrapin? Also, the terms of the lease called for the installation, within 60 days, of an ADA-compliant public access dock. This has not been done.

To date, no dedicated park public restrooms have been built. If the park is ever to revert to public use, the promised dock and additionally some permanent ADA compliant restrooms are necessary. Since Beach Park has become integral to the business of Terrapin, I believe the current or a future city council would be loathe to wrest it back for the public. However, going forward, an equitable—say 50/50—profit-sharing arrangement is worth exploring in any new lease agreement. Any money from such an agreement could be used for the maintenance of other city parks. Since Terrapin is located in the Canal area, maybe profits could benefit the local community.

J.S. Danielson 

San Rafael

The Kindness of Strangers

I had to take my dog to her vet on Center Boulevard in Fairfax. I turned into the parking area at the end of her building to turn around so that I could park in front of the vet clinic. I turned right out of the driveway and, rather than going into the traffic, I made a sharp right turn, hoping to slide into a parking space. I couldn’t see the funny, curved structure jutting out into the street, and got stuck on it. A crowd of men quickly appeared, suggestions were made, various things tried but they couldn’t move my car. A man with a truck offered to tow me out. Another man got into the driver’s seat and they skillfully moved my car and parked it for me, then came into the vet clinic to tell me that all was well. I didn’t get any names, nor did I get to say, “Thank you” to most of them. I hope some of them see my letter.

I also hope that the public works department in Fairfax sees this and removes this weird fixture.  I was told that people get stuck on it all the time.

Ann Troy

San Anselmo

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