Remember how Nancy Nadel advertised in her re-election campaign literature last year that she had “transformed Jefferson Park into a skate park for youth“? Well, that hadn’t actually happened then, and it isn’t happening now, but I am pleased to report that Jefferson Park will soon be getting a much needed facelift.
In case you haven’t visited lately, right now it looks like this:
It’s a nice enough park, I guess. I enjoy sitting on the lawn there and reading sometimes. But it is rather run down. It’s got this kind of awful abandoned storage building that looks like it’s about to collapse, which certainly does not help the overall feeling of disrepair at the park.
And then there’s this really depressing (and cheap) looking “play structure”.
But all that is going to change soon (PDF)! They’ll be demolishing the storage building, installing a new (and hopefully less pathetic) play structure, moving the basketball court, and creating a dog park for both large and small dogs. A dog park! Exactly what Old Oakland needs!
I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t the City just gut public works funding to the point where we’re basically no longer taking care of our parks? The answer is yes. But the shortfall that caused those cuts was in the LLAD and the General Fund. The park improvements will be paid out of redevelopment money. This, of course, highlights one of the frustrating things about redevelopment, which is that it provides money you can use to build stuff, but leaves you with nothing to maintain it. But that’s an issue for another day.
Anyway, it’s not just Jefferson Park getting lucky this year. Improvements are on the way for Chinatown’s Lincoln Square Park as well. Lincoln Park, in case you haven’t been, is basically just a giant block of asphalt with a play structure and some swings scattered around the edges.
Don’t get me wrong – the play structure is actually pretty cool.
And with all the kids in that neighborhood, it’s crowded pretty much all the time. But it’s hard to deny the park could use some help. Which it will be receiving (PDF) in the form of new lighting, ball courts, a multipurpose synthetic tufts field, and game tables!
I thought of all this, well, actually because some small funding allocations for these park improvements on next week’s agendas (FYI, the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts (PDF) and the Chinese Gardens (PDF) are also getting help) reminded me that I’ve been meaning to mention them. But I’m writing about it because it gives me the perfect excuse to pimp a cool exhibit going on at the Oakland Art Gallery right now.
ProArts and 10,000 Steps have put together a multimedia installation showcasing the history of downtown’s four historic parks (Madison, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Lafayette), which you can check out at the Oakland Art Gallery (150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza) between now and October 9th.
I could go on about it, but Tina Tamale actually has a really sweet blog up about it right now, so instead, I’m just going to encourage you to head over there and read her pitch for visiting.
click to enlarge