Patt Morrison for August 11, 2011

Slated to close 70 state parks, California considers privatizing

Mercer 20167

Jesse Grant/Getty Images For Nature Valley

A general view of atmosphere during the National Parks Project outside Joshua Tree National Park, California

Should California privatize its parks? In a last ditch effort to prevent the closure of 70 public parks after their budget was nearly halved since 2007, Sacramento is looking for new and creative ways to keep the parks open. One of the most viable-looking options on the table right now is a public-private partnership. But how would that work? Is there danger in turning California's most precious beaches, lakes and forests over to private entrepreneurs? And how has the model worked in the past? One local partnership between Stater Bros. and Coca-Cola has raised close to $2 million since 2009 for campaigns like Preserve Our Parks. Opponents say it’s akin to renting California's own land back to its citizens for corporate profit, while proponents say it is the best option for keeping as many of the state’s parks open as possible. Patt talks with the director of California State Parks about the idea and checks in with a developer to hear his experience with private partnerships in New York’s infamous Bryant Park.


Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks

Dan Biederman, president of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, which works with cities around the country to consult and bring improvements to their parks and downtown areas by using private funding in place of city, state or taxpayer money.

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