Golden Gate in San Mateo? 

Updated recreation area plan calls for arts center, museum, other amenities

SAN MATEO — A 2,000-seat performing arts center could be the crown jewel of a renovated Coyote Point Recreation Area, according to officials.

Brought to the county by Broadway By the Bay, which is considering moving from its Burlingame address, the 50,000-square-foot arts center idea would be part of a broader park makeover.The master plan lays out a multiyear, five-phased framework for remaking the park into a major county attraction. Additional amenities could include an arts museum, possible restaurant, expanded Bay Trail, new food concessions, and improved beach, swimming and boating facilities, according to the recently released Coyote Point Recreation Area Master Plan update.

"We’re thinking of it as a miniature Golden Gate Park, with lots of cultural attractions," said Ruth Waters, founder of the Peninsula Museum of Art, which — like Broadway By the Bay — is in discussions with parks officials in hopes of finding a space in park.

The arts center and arts museum would blend with the park’s mission and likely bring more visitors to facilities including to the struggling Coyote Point Museum — which is undergoing its own transformation, County Parks Director Dave Holland said. "I think it would be magnificent for the county park system," Holland said.

A reconstructed Peninsula Avenue exit and entrance to the park, now in the planning stages, would make the vision of the park as a cultural draw even more feasible, Holland said. Much-needed meeting and reception space for groups of around 200 could also be part of an arts center, Holland said.

The update couldn’t come too soon for the 149-acre park, which welcomes 500,000 visitors a year, according to Sam Herzberg, a Parks and Recreation planner. The original master plan dates back to 1971.

The master plan update also provides for the relocation of the fire range near the golf course, which would be replaced by a multi-level parking structure. Facilities now leased to the Peninsula Humane Society would be redeveloped, once the organization relocates, opening a prime spot for the Peninsula Museum of Art, a restaurant or a new park maintenance facility, according to officials.

The proposed cultural dimensions of the park were a result of close coordination with the Arts Commission, also part of the county Parks and Recreation division, according to Bern Smith, chairman of county Parks and Recreation Commission, which approved the plan Oct. 5. He’s most excited about completing work on two regional trails that are part of the master plan, including the Bay Trail, envisioned to one day rim the Bay, and Bay Water Trail, promoted as a way to encourage nonmotorized boating such as sea kayaking and canoeing, Smith said.

"I think this park is perfectly suited to promote that type of use," he said.

The updated master plan is scheduled to go to the Board of Supervisors for approval in early December, officials said.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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