San Rafael’s New Open Space
The Makin Grade Purchase in San Rafael was made by Marin Open Space Trust, with the support of generous neighbors. Two undeveloped lots on a wooded hillside in San Rafael are now part of San Rafael’s public open space, Oakwood Open Space.
Initially spearheaded by area residents Bill Carney and Tamra Peters, the $399,000 acquisition was funded from neighborhood donations and negotiated by Marin Open Space Trust. We are dedicating the land at no cost to the city. This land will be added to an existing 33 acres of city-owned open space situated at the end of Greenwood Avenue in the Gerstle Park neighborhood, south of downtown, straddling the Ross border.
Initially, there had been concerns by San Rafael council members due to an unwritten policy regarding the acceptance of land — and it was feared they would reject the offer because of concerns of liability and maintenance. The overwhelming community support for the move influenced the council’s decision, Mayor Gary Phillips said.
The terms negotiated by Marin Open Space Trust have set the standard for future negotiations regarding land acquisitions. “I think we have made out a template going forward if we are going to consider in the future such dedications,” he said. “This is the dedication that proves the exception.”, said Councilman Andrew McCullough after the vote.
The two 1.5-acre lots are part of the Oakwood subdivision made up of 45 residential parcels, established in the mid-1980s. A graded trail runs from the street through the adjoining properties to the Oakwood Open Space and follows the historic route of the old San Rafael-Bolinas stagecoach line.
Carney and Peters, who live across from the trail, wanted to preserve the natural beauty of the wooded area and contacted the Marin Open Space Trust. They collected 175 signatures through a petition. The Marin Conservation League, San Rafael Heritage, the Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods and others also added their support to the petition.