Tom Thurston: Making citizen led redevelopment work in Central City East

The Central City East Redevelopment District is one of the first redevelopment districts to be led by a group of community members, called a Project Area Committee.

The Central City East Project Area Committee (CCE PAC), in this pioneering role, is in the process of figuring out how a PAC implements its long term vision, and how it interacts with redevelopment staff. On the one hand, staff needs sufficient leeway to deal with the strictures of each individual project. On the other hand, the PAC needs to communicate effectively to staff their priorities and staff needs to demonstrate to the PAC that PAC priorities are actually being implemented.

The CCE PAC will have its next regular monthly meeting at the cafeteria of Patten University (2433 Coolidge Ave) next Monday night, March 2 at 6:30. The District covers roughly the east Oakland flatlands above International. The map below shows the boundaries.

Why you should care: while other divisions of the City have had to cut their budget, Redevelopment’s income has held steady. They are still spending in their broad mandate to promote community and economic development, and eliminate blight.

What’s happening this month:

Staff will present for comment a draft of the vision statement based on various meetings and workshops since last May. Once adopted, Redevelopment would ask developers to take the statement into account in their proposals. The PAC would hold staff accountable to this vision.

The PAC will consider restructuring its meetings and its calendar more in line with the vision. This means more specific discussions between sub-areas and staff about upcoming projects, and more reporting from staff on the projects they have been working on.

The proposed calendar will put more structure into the PAC’s meeting, rather than simply reacting to staff proposals or funding requests. If accepted, the calendar will limit funding requests to four meetings a year, plus one for affordable housing. Two meetings a year would be for taking a broader view—budget and vision, and two meetings would be for specific topical discussions, such as housing or business development.

Rebuilding Together Oakland is submitting a request for $50,000 for rehab of senior housing at this meeting. Also the CCE Neighborhood Enforcement Team will report on Team progress.

All PAC meetings are subject to the Brown Act. The public is welcome.

Tom Thurston is an East Oakland resident and Chair of the Central City East Redevelopment Area PAC.

2 thoughts on “Tom Thurston: Making citizen led redevelopment work in Central City East

  1. James H. Robinson

    Thank you for presenting this information. I appreciate the work that Central City East Redevelopment District has done. In fact, I believe that the subdivision where I live (Covington Manor) is the result of the Redevelopment District’s efforts.

  2. Chris Kidd

    I’ve only been to a CCE redevelopment meeting once (for authorization of Estuary Specific Plan funding), but I was pretty impressed at how well run it was and how on point the questions directed towards staff were.