In 1988, East Bay voters approved Measure AA, agreeing to pay $10 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value to fund an East Bay Regional Parks District bond that would expand and preserve regional open space. Oakland residents benefited not only from AA’s regional improvements, but also from $10.2 million that came directly to us to pay for things like the lion and flamingo exhibits at the zoo, the Brookfield Multi-Purpose Senior Center, a renovation of Sequoia Lodge, resurfacing our tennis courts, and improvements to Joaquin Miller Park.
On your November ballot, the East Bay Regional Park District will ask you to keep paying that exact same tax in order to fund the issuance of $500 million in new bonds to continue expansions and improvements. 25% of that money will go directly to cities to fund their own local park projects. Measure WW requires a 2/3 vote to pass and has organized opposition.
Our regional parks are one of the treasures that makes the East Bay such a wonderful place to live, and it seems, to me at least, that supporting expansion and improvements to them, especially with no increase in the tax rate, should be a no-brainer. But looking beyond region-wide benefits, I’m also extremely hopeful for the passage of WW because of the enormous good it would do for Oakland specifically. As you might remember from the budget deliberations over the last week, we have, like, no money to spend on anything, and that includes local park improvements. So the $19.2 million that the City of Oakland will get from Measure WW is hugely important. On top of that, $50.4 million of the WW funds spent on regional park projects will go to projects either partially or entirely within Oakland. Plus, $4 million for our zoo. WW is simply an excellent deal for Oakland, and I want to highlight, specifically, what we’re going to get out of it. (All these descriptions are taken directly from either City of Oakland or EBRPD documents)
- Anthony Chabot: $2 million to acquire the last remaining open space to establish final park boundaries to buffer sensitive wildlife habitats and create new access for all users
- Dunsmuir Heights Trail: $2.3 million to acquire and construct an urban open space and multi-use trail corridor connecting Oakland and San Leandro neighborhoods to Anthony Chabot through the Dunsmuir Heights area.
- Gateway Shoreline: $5.4 million to establish a new regional shoreline park as a bicycle trail hub connecting the new Bay Bridge bicycle access to the East Bay and the Bay Trail in cooperation with other agencies. This intermodal node will include parking, promenade, fishing access, landscape improvements, and facilities to interpret the natural and historic resources of this site.
- Lake Chabot: $1.8 million to preserve hillside areas, connect trails, and add public access along the western park boundary.
- Leona Open Space: $2.5 million to acquire remaining land to complete the park and improve public access.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline: $12.3 million to expand existing public use, shoreline access, and Bay Trail improvements at the Tidewater and Shoreline Center areas of the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline.
- Oak Knoll to Ridge Trail: $720,000 to join with the City of Oakland and commnity groups to create trail connections between the Oak Knoll redevelopment project and Leona Heights Open Space.
- Oakland Shoreline: $10.8 million to join with Oakland to develop new access for urban residents to the Oakland Shoreline. Clean up and restore marshes to benefit nesting birds, improve water circulation through dredging, and construct improvements on shoreline sites along the Bay Trail from San Leandro Bay, through the Oakland Estuary, and north to connect to Gateway Shoreline Park. Assist with the City’s Estuary Plan trail and access projects, including public use facilities.
- Oyster Bay: $2.1 million to complete the development of this 200-acre urban shoreline park and Bay Trail connection by working with the City of San Leandro to provide recycled water for the irrigation of new turf meadows, construct picnic and play areas, parking, restrooms, and landscaping.
- Redwood: $5.2 million to acquire and restore Redwood Creek to protect rare native trout habitat; cooperate with the City of Oakland and Chabot Space and Science Center to support youth camping and facilities to interpret the historic and natural features of the East Bay’s only native redwoods. Enhance serpentine prarie for rare plants, improve whipsnake habitat and rare manzanita groves.
- Roberts: $1.4 million to update existing pool and facilities to accommodate regional swimming meets and events.
- Sibley/Huckleberry: $5.9 million to acquire additional open space south of Sibley Regional Preserve between Oakland, Orinda, and Moraga. Expand trails, including connection to Lake Temescal; construct new trailhead, and develop new camping opportunities. Restore ponds and riparian habitat.
- East Oakland Sports Complex: $6 million. This funding would complete Phase I, which includes building a state-of-the-art sports complex, including a natatorium, locker rooms, dance/aerobics studio, fitness/weight center, and outdoor basketball courts. (9175 Edes Avenue, District 7)
- Caldecott Trail: $1 million. This funding would be suppplemented by $500,000 from the East Bay Regional Parks District funding to improve and expand the existing trail from North Oakland Sports Field to Skyline Blvd. This project would provide an accessible segment and trail signage describing wayfinding and ecological/cultural conditions. (North Oakland Sports Field to Skyline Blvd, District 1)
- Owen Jones Field: $1 million. This funding would improve a field to accommodate girls’ softball programs so that Oakland’s girls and young women may have opportunities to participate in a team sport that promotes self-esteem, cooperation, and physical health. (5000 Redwood Road, District 6)
- Leveling the Playing Fields, Phase II – Poplar Field: $600,000. This funding would improve a field to accommodate girls’ softball programs so that Oakland’s girls and young women may have opportunities to participate in a team sport that promotes self-esteem, cooperation, and physical health. (3131 Union Street, District 3)
- Leveling the Playing Fields, Phase II – Central Reservoir Field: $600,000. This funding would improve a field to accommodate girls’ softball programs so that Oakland’s girls and young women may have opportunities to participate in a team sport that promotes self-esteem, cooperation, and physical health. (2506 East 29th Street, District 5)
- Bushrod Park Soccer Field: $3.3 million. This funding would create a new joint-use synthetic turf soccer field with OUSD on adjacent school property (the former Washington Elementary School). (569 59th Avenue, District 1)
- 25th Street Mini-Park: $730,000. This funding would replace the play structure and swing and would install new lawn area, fencing, and gates. (Martin Luther King Jr. Way and 25th Street, District 3)
- Morcom Rose Garden: $1.7 million. This funding would make site improvements and repairs to park, such as entry character, new wedding area at Greater Florentine, site drainage, restroom repair, irrigation system repairs, lighting upgrades and cistern for rainwater capture. (700 Jean Street, District 2)
- Feather River Camp: $500,000. This funding would pay for general youth camp renovation, such as ADA upgrades, painting, installation of a new floor in Veranda area, rebuild and repairs of tents and cabins, resurfacing of basketball/volleyball court, construction of a bridge over the creek, repair and maintenance of the ropes course, and path upgrade and trail maintenance. (5469 Oakland Camp Rd. Quincy, CA)
- Children’s Fairyland: $500,000. This funding would pay for the design and construction of a new entrance to the park.
- PAL Camp: $1 million. This funding would pay for the design and construction of four bungalows for rustic camping, and a separate building with kitchen and bathrooms. (near Chabot Space & Science Center, District 4)
- Lazear Field: $500,000. This funding would pay to install new lighting at the ball field. (29th Avenue and East 10th Street, District 5)
- City Stables: $500,000. This funding would pay for renovation and improvements to provide educational and recreational activities for the public, particularly youth, through equestrian programs, sustainable agriculture programs, and related activities. (13560 Skyline Blvd, District 6)
- Laurel Park: $500,000. This funding would contribute to site acquisition and development of a park in an underserved area of Oakland. (Location TBD, District 4)
- Madison Square Park: $300,000. This funding would contribute to renovations at the park. (810 Jackson Street, District 2)
- Raimondi Park: $220,000. This funding would contribute to the Phase I project at Raimondi Park to design and renovate the multipurpose ball field, the baseball diamond, community elements and infrastructure improvements.
Learn more about region-wide benefits of Measure WW from the bond fact sheet (PDF), project map (PDF), and project descriptions (PDF). Parks and open space are key to quality of life anywhere, and especially so in a dense, urban environment. Shoreline access here is currently so tragically limited that half the time, you’d forget Oakland was a waterfront city. So not only is Measure WW good for Oakland generally, but it will also help remedy one of Oakland’s worst failings when it comes to open space by funding multiple waterfront improvements, with a particular focus on access. Please, vote yes on Measure WW.