Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Land Trust Gets Funds for Preservation

Article Last Updated: Saturday, Aug 13, 2005 - 10:24:37 pm PDT

Land Trust Gets Funds for Preservation
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Tucked amid the hundreds of pages in the new federal transportation bill is $2.4 million to help buy open space in the hills between Fairfield, Vallejo and Benicia.

But the Solano Land Trust will have to raise still more money to buy the land it would like to preserve.

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, got the item placed in the bill at the request of the Solano Land Trust. The item gives money to help buy 2,270 acres of scenic highway open space, including 10 miles of bike and walking trails, Miller spokesman Daniel Weiss said.

The property is owned by the city of Santa Clara. Santa Clara bought the property to build an electricity producing wind turbine farm that never became reality.

Buying the land is part of a bigger regional vision for the area.

Fairfield, Vallejo and Benicia a decade ago agreed to leave 10,000 acres between them undeveloped. The Solano Land Trust already owns 1,039-acre Lynch Canyon, 1,575-acre King Ranch and 2,225-acre Swett ranches. These purchases could one day be part of a regional park.

Land Trust officials have long mentioned that the next purchase there could be land owned by Santa Clara. This land is adjacent to the King Ranch.

A purchase price of $5.5 million for the Santa Clara land came up in 2003, said Marilyn Farley, who recently became the Solano Land Trust executive director. She knew of no recent negotiations with the city.

So money for the federal highway bill could provide a portion of the money needed for the purchase, should Santa Clara be willing to sell. President George Bush signed the $286 billion federal transportation bill Wednesday.

Solano County is also getting $17.4 million to help fix the interstates 80 and 680 interchange and $3.2 million for Jepson Parkway improvements near Travis Air Force Base. These allotments had previously been announced.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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