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[whitespace] City begins plan to buy parcels for extension of creek trail

Action is one of 12 that will link trail to Guadalupe River

Willow Glen--The city council took a substantial step last week to extend the Los Gatos Creek Trail through all of Willow Glen and into downtown San Jose, by approving the purchase of private land along the creek bed.

The approximately 3,000-square-foot parcel extends from Lonus Avenue, east of Lincoln Avenue, up to the west bank of the creek. The site was appraised at $3,600 in January 2000. At its March 20 meeting, the city council agreed to buy the property for $4,000. Additional transaction costs could raise the total amount to approximately $4,795, according to a city staff report.

Public Works Deputy Director Jim Foley said the property, which is owned by a private trust, is the first of 12 parcels from Lincoln to Auzerais avenues that city officials hope to buy. Their goal is to eventually connect the Los Gatos Creek Trail to the Guadalupe River Trail, he said

The trail extension is being completed in parts, said Brad Brown, a park planner with the city's parks development division.

"The D'Anna property is one of 12 parcels that will continue the Los Gatos Creek Trail, from Lincoln and Coe to the downtown area," he said, adding that they hope to have construction on that section completed by mid- to late 2003.

The Los Gatos Creek Trail currently stretches nine miles, from Lexington Reservoir in the Santa Cruz Mountains through Los Gatos, Campbell and Willow Glen to Meridian Avenue. The Willow Glen Neighborhood Association adopted, and began upgrading, the portion of the trail from the intersection of Willow Street and Leigh Avenue to Meridian Avenue in 1996.

The Los Gatos Creek Trail master plan, adopted by the city in 1985, proposes to connect the creek to the Guadalupe River at the Arena Green confluence on Santa Clara Street near the San Jose Arena.

The trail that now ends at Meridian Avenue will continue along the north side of Lincoln Avenue to Coe Avenue along the bike lane on Willow Street, Brown said. He said the trail could not run along the creek bed between those two points because of property lines and erosion along the creek in that area.

Some of the trail at Lonus Street was built by a private developer in the late 1980s, as a condition for them to put up a storage building there, Brown said.

The other 11 parcels, yet to be purchased, are owned by a number of different parties, including the San Jose Water Company and PG&E.

The trail is managed by a number of public agencies, including the city's parks, recreation and neighborhood's department; the county parks departments; the town of Los Gatos; the city of Campbell; and the water district.

Los Gatos Creek originates high in the Santa Cruz Mountains and flows north to Lexington Reservoir, then north to downtown San Jose where it joins the Guadalupe River and continues to the bay.

Los Gatos Creek, along with other area creeks in the West Valley area, helps in flood protection as an outlet for water from storm drains.

City officials hope to someday connect all of San Jose's creek trails, Brown said.

"Trails are very popular throughout the country," Brown said. "This is something that people want. It's going to be wonderful."
Kate Carter

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Web extra to the March 29-April 4, 2001 issue of Metro.

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