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Officials scramble to save state parks

July 30, 2009 8:53:39 AM PDT
Could we soon see advertising signs at state parks and beaches? That's one way officials are looking to keep as many state parks and beaches open as long as possible after state officials cut $14 million from state parks funding.Another option would be to have cities and counties take over parks in their communities and run them.

City officials in Riverside have indicated they would be interested in running California Citrus State Historic Park, which is one of the parks on the endangered list.

One thing city officials want before they commit money to a project like this is some guarantee they'd have control over park operations.

"We would like, if the state is not going to maintain it, is for the city to have a lease for 25, 50 years," said Riverside Mayor Ronald Loveridge.

"We would maintain it, we would celebrate it, but we want to have some kind of control before we put our own kind of private or local money in," he said.

There are 279 parks in the state system, and 100 could be closed because of the budget crisis.

Park officials said they'll probably know which parks will be on the closure list sometime after Labor Day.

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