A vote was scheduled Tuesday evening on a plan that could significantly change the landscape on Mount Umunhum.
Members of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's board were to convene at 7 p.m. in Saratoga to vote on a recommendation to move forward with a project that would demolish all structures on Mount Umunhum -- except the iconic radio tower -- so that the space can be re-worked and opened to the public.
The plan, known as the Environmental Restoration and Public Access Project, also calls for the construction of new trails, restrooms, parking lots, benches, and the creation of ceremonial space.
Surrounded by the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, Mount Umunhum is the site of the defunct and gutted Almaden Air Force Station, which Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District spokesman Rudy Jurgensen compared to a small town, with its own generator, recreational facilities, apartments, and administrative buildings.
During the Cold War, the radar tower was used to scan the horizon for Soviet planes, with most everyone who lived at the station supporting that radar, Jurgensen said.
The board will reconvene on July 18, to gather public input regarding three possible plans for the tower.
A final decision on the tower will be made in the fall.
The entire project is expected to cost $13.2 million, including the $1 million the district has already spent on removing hazardous materials from the site.
Jurgensen said the project has received $3.2 million in federal funding.
The district hopes to get the remaining funding from public and private grants, according to Jurgensen.
"We look forward to (when) ... this will really become one of the Bay Area's most breathtaking public destinations," Jurgensen said.
—By Bay City News Service