Coyote Point’s rotting boardwalk is top parks priority 

Following a windstorm that swept away another 150 feet of the Coyote Point Park bayside boardwalk two days after Christmas, San Mateo County supervisors Tuesday made fixing the hazard a top priority.

The Bay’s whirlpool current in the area and several storm lashings have resulted in 800 feet of the trail being roped off from park users to prevent injury since last winter.

Supervisors on Tuesday approved more than $250,000 for the boardwalk and other park upgrades, the first projects to move forward from the Coyote Point Recreation Area Master Plan released last October, officials said. The funding included $140,000 from the San Mateo County Parks Foundation to study design alternatives for the boardwalk and $117,000 for new restrooms.

"Coyote Point Park is one of our parks that is quite well used, so we want to do as much as we can to bring in more people," said Rose Jacobs Gibson, president of the Board of Supervisors.

Jacobs Gibson called the improvements "just the beginning" of greater improvements ahead.

"This is an important project because when you think of Coyote Point, the first thing you think about is access to the Bay," Parks Foundation President Julia Bott said.

The boardwalk, along with much of the nearby parking and boat launch area, was built on dirt and gravel fill and turned into the "Coney Island of the West," Pacific City, in 1922, according to county park planner Sam Herzberg. Pacific City closed only two years later, but constant maintenance since the county took over the land kept the boardwalk in usable condition until last year’s winter storms, Herzberg said.

One option being considered for repairing the path is to relocate it away from the water and build several so-called pocket beaches along the Bay to limit erosion, Herzberg said.

The funding approved Tuesday will also pay for new restrooms near the Coyote Point Marina, which is used by many boaters and windsurfers, aHerzberg said. The restrooms will replace a Porta-Potty adjacent to the boat launch.

Public hearings are planned once project details have been drawn up and construction — for which there is no funding currently — won’t begin for at least 17 months.

The master plan update is an ambitious outline of how the county hopes to remake the 150-acre park. Among the ideas being considered are a 2,000-seat performing arts center, a restaurant and additional beachfront camping and trails.

Coyote Point already welcomes about 500,000 visitors a year. The original master plan dates back to 1971, Herzberg said.

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