Parks at basins: Garry Bredefeld’s solution to Fresno’s park problems


Bredefeld touts this as a tax-free, cheaper option to a tax initiative in the works

FRESNO, California (KSEE) — With word of new parks and public safety tax in the works, a Fresno city councilman announced his solution for city’s parks problems: utilizing the already existing ponding basins.

Standing solo, councilman Garry Bredefeld pushed for a tax-free option to create more parks in the city. He said the city should take over the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District and create parks at all ponding basins possible.

“This is America, it’s just about coming up with good ideas and thinking outside the box,” Bredefeld said. “You don’t always have to come and try to raid taxpayers’ pockets.”

The flood control district oversees more than 150 basins and 23 of them already have parks — like Sloan Johnson Oso de Oro Lake Park.

Henry Gallegos walks his dog there often and likes the possibility of more parks like this.

“I’ve noticed in other communities around California that they’re doing that,” Gallegos said.

The next Measure P

A proposed tax initiative would generate $75 million annually for local parks and public safety funding. It’s currently being drafted by the same team behind Measure P, the failed 2018 tax measure that would’ve helped funded parks and arts programs. It would sunset in 20 years.

Despite it still being in the works, Bredefeld already opposes it, saying priorities should be rooted in public safety and infrastructure — not parks.

Elliott Balch is on the coalition for the initiative. He said he likes Bredefeld’s creativity, but wonders where maintenance funds would come from in his plan.

“[We need funds] so that, over time, [these parks] do not become a drag on the neighborhoods…but rather continues to be that resource,” Balch said. “Whether it’s a partnership or just the city acting alone, the money to do the maintenance is essential.”

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