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.

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Comments (4)
  1. George says:

    I was just there. There’s NOBODY in the place. Ginsburg is a total liar!

  2. Daniele E. says:

    I was there @ 4 weeks ago, on a beautiful day. Hardly anyone there…and I have used it a lot in the past…so I know the difference. In addition, I was there 2 weeks ago on a docent tour. Said docent mentioned how the ckeckpoints probably won’t last beyond the next 2 months because they’re not bringing in the money…I was happy to hear that.

    I heard Phil Ginsburg by chance on a radio program @ 6 weeks ago. He kept repeating over and over like a mantra the word scarcity…Scarcity thinking is what that’s called.

    We know there is plenty of money, and it happens to be in the hands of the wealthy and corporations. Our system isn’t sustainable any longer and it’s time to SEE the true abundance that is our city/country and impose taxes where they ought to be so that we can address the needs of our city. I’m tired of this rigged system that we’ve got, and so are a lot of people.

    And let’s not compare our botanical gardens with other cities. I’ve read the intent of Helene Strybing, and I know what her intentions were for this beautiful place: to be a sanctuary for ALL, designed to draw you in and be a respite from the density that surrounds it.