A blast from the past could see new life for future generations.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, an old military site on top of Mount Umunhum just south of San Jose could be turned into a public park. The Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District has plans to build new trails for hiking and horseback riding and also develop camping sites. The area used to be an U.S. Air Force radar station which was tasked to detect incoming Soviet threats. But with the Cold War long over, it has been sitting there, rusting away.
The board will meet Tuesday to vote on a recommendation to demolish dozens of old buildings at the site. An environmental impact report to restore the mountain top will also be decided. A large radar tower will not be taken down at this time pending further studies and public comment. Tearing down the 63-foot long radar tower would cost more than half a million dollars. But, plans to keep it in place could reach over $1 million. Another alternative to reduce its size and use it as a museum would cost $800,000. Since last year, efforts have been underway to remove toxic materials such as lead paint and asbestos at a cost of more than $4-million in federal grants.
The restoration project is slated to cost the District $10 million. And final construction would be completed by 2017.
The 44-acre former base used to house 120 Air Force personnel and their families between 1957 to 1980. After its' closure, the District bought the 18,000 acres of surrounding land to create the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.