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San Francisco Rec And Park Pushes To Keep Botanical Gardens Admission Fee

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Golden Gate Park Botanical Gardens (www.sfbotanicalgarden.org)

Golden Gate Park Botanical Gardens (www.sfbotanicalgarden.org)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Faced with another year of budget cuts, park officials have come out against attempts to repeal the unpopular entrance fee for out-of-town visitors to the Golden Gate Park Botanical Gardens.

Rescinding a $7 admission for non-residents would deprive the city of more than $500,000 a year, said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the Recreation and Parks Department.

“We are asking people who visit our city to help support services for San Franciscans,” he said.

“In a world of difficult budget challenges, this is an easy one.”

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

In 2010, the Board of Supervisors reluctantly approved the fee as a pilot program to relieve the city’s deficit. Since then Supervisor John Avalos has proposed rescinding the fee.

“We’ve been looking at fees over and over, nickel and diming San Franciscans in the process,” Avalos said.

The revenue from the admissions fee would be replaced with a new voter-approved property transfer tax, removing what Avalos calls a barrier to enjoying the park.

Unfortunately, said Ginsburg, the transfer tax would have to be renewed each year to replace a fee that is lower than what many other cities charge for similar park attractions.

“Why would the city want to take away an ongoing source of funding for the department that keeps our rec centers open and helps keep gardeners working in our parks, for a one-time quick fix? It just doesn’t make any sense,” Ginsburg said.

The entrance fee should be made permanent, he said, because it is bringing in twice the revenue originally estimated.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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