On July 28, representatives of the city and the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), along with members of the public, toured the future site of a regional park on the former Navy runway area at Alameda Point. The 158-acre area runs along the Oakland Estuary out to the western shoreline with its sweeping views of San Francisco Bay out to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Bob Nisbet, assistant general manager of EBRPD, and Jennifer Ott, base reuse manager for the city, explained that the city and park district are working on a joint agreement called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will allow EBRPD to build and operate the park. The land is being transferred from the Navy to the city in phases as environmental remediation is completed. Following the final land transfer in about four years, the city would then lease the land to EBRPD for 66 years, the maximum allowable under state law for tidelands along state waterways.
“If the MOU is executed, we will need to work together to obtain funding, permits, design and construction on the property,” said Jennifer Ott. “The MOU outlines in greater detail each party’s roles and responsibilities at each of these stages. But, it will very much be a joint effort to get it done.”
The city and EBRPD are hoping to have the terms of the agreement finalized by the end of 2017. Once the agreement is approved by the city council, it will allow the city and EBRPD to begin seeking additional funding and crafting a land use plan. In 2008, voters in the park district approved $6.5 million for Alameda Point. It is expected that significantly more funding will be required to construct the Bay Trail and other landscaping features.
In 2015, the Navy created a new 2.25-acre seasonal wetland in this area as part of its cleanup program. About 37 acres at the northwestern tip, including part of the old runway, have been covered with new soil and seeded with native grasses. An adjacent cleanup site will also be covered with new soil and seeded with native grasses.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is planning a healthcare facility and columbarium along the south side of the proposed park. The VA’s plans include a roadway with a sidewalk and bike line to the western shoreline that will serve as the access road for the regional park and Bay Trail.
The July 28 tour was an official meeting of the park district and the city. In attendance were members of the EBRPD Board of Directors and staff, and Alameda’s mayor, three city council members and city staff.
Originally published in the Alameda Sun.