SANTA CRUZ—The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting unanimously approved a plan to purchase a parcel of land in Watsonville, with the hopes of one day converting it into a public park.
The 38.5-acre parcel at 188 Whiting Road—located adjacent to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds—is currently zoned for commercial and agricultural uses. It is valued at just over $3.1 million.
The plans are far from complete. County officials must still find funding, secure permits and complete environmental impact studies.
But county officials envision the property as one day offering space for recreational activities, a one-mile nature trail and a 15-acre demonstration and educational berry farm, whose profits could help fund the annual maintenance costs for the park.
“I am truly excited,” said Department of Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services director Jeff Gaffney. “This is a very robust piece of land with lots of opportunities. It checks all the boxes for the needs of the community.”
The board gave credit to 4th District Supervisor Greg Caput who they said tirelessly advocated for additional park space in South County, which falls far under the many national per capita recommendations for parks space.