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Cow Palace to be upgraded for use as emergency evacuation center

PIX Now evening edition 9-27-23
PIX Now evening edition 9-27-23 09:34

DALY CITY - The Cow Palace Arena and Event Center in Daly City will get modifications to bolster its use as an evacuation center for residents and livestock during a local emergency, thanks to a $1 million injection from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

The board made the allocation Tuesday as part of its fall budget adjustments, which included hiring dozens of additional county employees in different departments. 

The arena, built in 1941, will be further prepared as an evacuation, care and shelter site by modifying the building's kitchen and dining area, installing permanent generators, stocking care supplies, and renovating areas for large animals and livestock.

The money was included as part of an additional $365.5 million for this year's budget, bringing the total 2023-24 budget for the county to about $4.4 billion. 

Supervisor David Canepa said the Cow Palace had housed numerous animals during the CZU wildfires in 2020, when it was activated as an emergency shelter.

"The Cow Palace has proven invaluable during emergencies, especially during the CZU wildfire when it became a Noah's Ark for county residents scrambling to find shelter for horses, cows, goats and even llamas," Canepa said.

Renovations will include a redesign of the kitchen, freezer and dining area so that they can accommodate serving a larger number of meals. 

Care supplies such as cots, blankets and comfort kits will be purchased and stored in preparation for an emergency.

"With this $1 million, the Cow Palace will now be equipped to serve thousands of meals a day and keep the lights on with new emergency generators during power outages," said Canepa. "This is another investment in emergency preparedness that highlights the county's continuing commitment to public safety."

Adjustments to the 2023-24 fiscal year budget included adding a net total of 37 employees to the county's staff in various departments, some of whom were already working for the county as temporary workers. That brings the county's total workforce to 5,805 people.

Some of the overall increase was driven by the cost of employee health benefit plans covered by the county, which went up this year by nearly 14 and 9 percent.  

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