County of Marin - News Releases - Parks Master Plans

For Immediate Release
May 04, 2017

Master Plans for 2 Parks Go Before Supervisors

Many benefits to long-term blueprints for aging facilities

San Rafael, CA – McNears Beach Park on the shoreline of San Pablo Bay in San Rafael has been a County of Marin facility since 1970. Its sister facility, Paradise Beach Park on the Tiburon Peninsula, was first acquired in 1958. Both recreational properties have master plans that laid out future development and improvements, but those documents date to a time when computers took up entire rooms and water was considered plentiful. Things have changed.

A weather-worn sign is shown at McNears Beach Park near San Rafael.A weather-worn sign is just one of many items in need of replacement at McNears Beach Park.

On Tuesday, May 9, Marin County Parks is bringing forward new master plans for McNears Beach and Paradise Beach parks that have been in the works since 2014. If approved, the County will not only have a blueprint for long-term designs and planning, but it will have the official documentation it needs to seek state and federal grants and other outside funding for long-deferred upgrades. Community engagement was an important part of developing the master plans, which will help the County to follow an established and publicly vetted vision for the facility.

“With funding provided by Measure A, we have been able to address some critical repairs, like repairing the McNears Pier and repaving the entry road,” said Steve Petterle, County Parks’ Principal Landscape Architect. “Having a master plan in place helps us to make sure the projects fit together. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”

A key goal in both plans is to make the parks fully accessible with pedestrian paths, promenades and trails that visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy. Another is to address decades of deferred infrastructure maintenance and add amenities that are meaningful to the communities they serve. The plans also consider sea-level rise to ensure that these facilities can survive in a changing climate. 

The full scope of work identified in the master plans is beyond available resources. The McNears Beach Park master plan identifies up to $35 million in upgrades while the Paradise Beach Park master plan has up to $20 million price tag for improvements.

”We aren’t going to be able to implement all of these plans overnight,” Petterle said. “Each year we plan to make modest improvements to these unique and beautiful facilities. This plan ensures that these improvements build toward a thoughtful vision and makes sure we are best situated to leverage outside funding to meet our goals.” 

Petterle said master plans are not required by law, but “One of the most frequently asked questions on grant applications is whether the proposal is part of an approved plan,” he said. “Funders want to know that we have engaged with the community and that the project they are considering funding has been thought through and is part of a strategic approach.”

The cost to prepare the McNears Beach Park master plan, including consultant fees, was about $232,000, while the tab for the Paradise Beach Park master plan was $140,000. Both plans will help inform maintenance projects and capital improvements for years to come and were paid for by Measure A funds.

“These parks are part of what makes Marin a special place,” said Max Korten, Director of Marin County Parks. “Our promise is that these plans won’t sit on a shelf. We will utilize this vision to implement meaningful improvements that ensure that these resources are available for generations to come.” 


Stephen Petterle
Principal Landscape Architect
Marin County Parks

Marin County Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6394
Email: Stephen Petterle