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Monday, January 31, 2011

Supervisor John Avalos Wants to Scrap Botanical Gardens Fee for Tourists

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 6:12 PM

click to enlarge Botanical Gardens...still not worth $7.
  • Botanical Gardens...still not worth $7.

As we predicted last year, most tourists won't want to pay $7 to enter the city's Botanical Gardens, especially since it's free to residents.

That's partly why Supervisor John Avalos is proposing the city eliminate the fee (how often does that happen?) and replace the much-needed revenue with tax dollars.

His logic is simple: Attendance at the 55-acre arboretum inside Golden Gate Park is "dropping off."

"What I am hearing is that residents are not going because they think they have to pay," he says.

We couldn't confirm this, because officials with the Botanical Gardens did not return phone calls.

Last year, city supervisors signed off on a $7 fee for tourists. It was an unpopular way to make money and support jobs for gardeners and other maintenance workers at the gardens.

Avalos is planning to introduce legislation on Tuesday to swap the fee with money from the transfer tax that voters approved in November. The tax generates some $30 million annually from property sales. He says the city could easily take $250,000 of that and infuse it into the parks and rec budget to both save jobs and spare people paying the fee.

Avalos is sure that scrapping the fee means more people will appreciate the Botanical Gardens and its 8,500 exotic plants and flowers. Of course, it's easy to appreciate what's free.

"How novel is it to be eliminating a fee instead of creating one?" Avalos says.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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