The Tri-Valley's Doolan Canyon Regional Preserve has nearly 160 acres of new publicly owned open space.
The East Bay Regional Park District has taken possession of the so-called "Grove property" between Dublin and Livermore after closing escrow on the nearly $1.3 million acquisition paid for largely by the district's Measure WW open space bond funds.
"The purchase will serve to protect the upper reaches of Doolan Canyon for future recreational opportunities, habitat protection, and open space preservation," EBRPD Board President Ayn Wieskamp, whose district includes parts of the Tri-Valley, said in a statement last week. "The property will also protect and preserve forever the headwaters of Cottonwood Creek."
The Grove property is now placed in land-bank status until the district completes its land-use plan for the regional preserve, according to Dave Mason, EBRPD's public information supervisor.
"Park planning is expected to take many years and will require substantial environmental evaluation and community engagement," Mason told the Weekly. "However, acquiring the property is a giant step toward opening up Doolan Canyon Regional Preserve to public access."
The new property, located off Doolan Road about four miles north of Interstate 580, is adjacent to the district's existing Doolan Canyon Regional Preserve, directly to the north of it -- and surrounded by privately owned agricultural parcels on the other sides.
EBRPD officials began negotiations with the Grove family last June before reaching agreement on a purchase price last fall. The EBRPD Board of Directors approved the acquisition Nov. 6 and the deal closed escrow later that month.
Acquisition costs totaled $1.27 million, of which about $1.23 million was allocated by the board in November from Measure WW -- the $500 million bond extension approved by voters in 2008. There had been another $32,300 previously appropriated for the project.
"The Grove family property is in the East Bay Regional Park District Master Plan and has been a longtime goal of the district's," EBRPD General Manager Robert Doyle said in a statement. "The district is pleased acquisition of the property has come to fruition."
Located between Tassajara and Collier Canyon roads and technically in far-southern Contra Costa County, the Grove property is part of land that helps provide habitat corridors for wildlife between Morgan Territory and Doolan Canyon regional preserves, including endangered species such as the Alameda whipsnake and red-legged frog according to EBRPD officials.
Acquiring the property will also help the district protect riparian and wetland habitats that support a variety of special status species, including rare alkali soil plant species, officials said.