Case of the Disappearing Park, Again

VA development Alameda Point

Map is included in city and VA agreement.

The proposed 147-acre regional park at Alameda Point has disappeared from the map in the city’s environmental review documents.  It used to appear in the “open space” area on the Northwest Territories.  Now it looks like out of the city’s 878 acres at Alameda Point, all we’re going to get is one 20-acre park (Enterprise Park) near the USS Hornet.

In May 2012, after talks between the city and the East Bay Regional Park District came to a halt over the terms under which the park district would acquire the land to develop and manage the park, the city’s chief operating officer for Alameda Point stated, “we all remain committed to the concept of a regional park in the NW Territories.”  (VA Project, Refuge Moving Forward, 5/3/12.)  Subsequently, the terms of the March 2013 agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs stated that the city intends to construct a park to the north of the VA clinic and included a map showing a 147-acre regional park.  Even the city’s general plan states:  “Develop a public park, called Alameda Point Park, in this area.”

Absent Point Park

Park on Northwest Territories is absent from “regional focal points.”

So why isn’t it on the map now?

This happened once before when SunCal eliminated the park from the map in their ballot measure.  Now the city has failed to include the park in its current planning maps—perhaps by mistake, but I’m not so sure.

Could the city be avoiding the formal park designation because it now takes a vote of the people to remove a park from the general plan? Who knows?

When the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service evaluated potential impacts to the endangered California least terns, their conclusions were based on the assumption that a regional park would be built.  Its 2012 biological opinion describes in detail the proposed features of the park, including parking spaces, 20 acres of seasonal wetlands, non-irrigated perennial and annual grasses over 45 percent of the park, 8,000 linear feet of raised and re-armored levees, and placement of approximately 400,000 cubic yards of fill to create topography.

But completing these upgrades, along with adding a trail system, benches, restrooms, and scenic points, requires a public commitment.  We need the park to be designated on the map to ensure that investments are made.

Work neededBy simply calling the Northwest Territories “passive open space” without a plan for a public park, we could be left with “neglected” open space containing acres of old pavement, building slabs, Quonset huts, storage sheds, ammo and missile bunkers, soil-filled water reservoirs, and a debris-strewn tidal marsh marked by a rotten fuel dock.

Alameda Point Park should be included in the environmental review project description, put back on the map, and developed as formerly envisioned.

Originally published in the Alameda Sun

Related:  Northwest Territories: A Fixer-upper
See video from 2009

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2 Responses to Case of the Disappearing Park, Again

  1. localnative says:

    Oh, Oh, Ohh, I found it! Your park is safely located on page 3-19 of the DEIR:

    Northwest Territories. These lands are suitable to provide passive recreation and gathering facilities along the Oakland Estuary waterfront, which could include trails, picnic areas, viewing areas, wetlands and parking lots. These parklands complement the adjacent Nature Reserve and will be accessed by a road connecting the main portion of the base with the western waterfront. The Northwest Territories and Nature Reserve are connected by a seasonal pedestrian and bicycle trail and visually by views of the San Francisco Bay and Bay Bridge.

    Your park is also safely ensconced on figure 3-6 entitled Open Space Framework. Isn’t it a little bit disingenuous for you to not use the open space map that is in the DEIR when referring to the allocation of open space, and instead use a map that is not even in the DEIR to claim open space is missing?

    • Irene says:

      The word “park” is absent from the Northwest Territories on the Figure 3-6 Open Space Framework map that you reference, whereas on the south side of Alameda Point on the Figure 3-6 map it says Enterprise PARK.

      Furthermore, I never claimed that “open space is missing.” I claimed that the word “park” is missing. “Picnic areas, viewing areas, wetlands, and parking lots” mentioned in the environmental document does indeed sound like a park. My opinion piece calls for institutionalizing those words by calling it a park.

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