The Alameda Recreation and Parks Department has recently launched a survey on what the community would like to see at the triangle park on the southeast shoreline of Alameda Point. It is the first step in the process of creating a Master Plan. The barely publicized survey is being conducted by students at UC Berkeley and will end on December 3.
This 26-acre park area is being referred to as “Enterprise Park,” but the name is not official because it’s not yet an official park. The 1996 Community Reuse Plan for the Navy base dubbed it “Inner Harbor Park,” a “region-serving park.”
In 1995, the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) submitted a proposal for a “Community Aquatic Center/Shoreline Park” as part of the reuse planning process. The EBRPD concept included a marine science center that they envisioned being operated in partnership with Alameda Unified School District. They also proposed a variety of water-oriented college credit programs. The City of Alameda never pursued the regional park offer.
In October 2006, at a city council meeting, EBRPD again offered to take over the 26-acre park, saying it had a half-million dollars to spend on the first phase of its development, which included building the Bay Trail segment in the park. EBRPD offered to build “family picnic sites, cleanup of the tennis and basketball courts, development of the shoreline trail to tie to the existing beach area, and cleanup of the beach and boat launch areas.” EBRPD continued, saying its future plans included “a natural planning resource area and interpretive center, as well as boating instruction at the marina.”
The City Council again declined the park offer but accepted the trail and beach offer. EBRPD continues to manage the trail and the beach.
Meanwhile, the city left the rest of area unprotected from vandalism and deterioration. (See photo gallery below.) Today EBRPD has apparently lost interest in developing a regional park at the site.
Ironically, the survey asks respondents if they have any ideas on funding sources. The 2014 Alameda Point Infrastructure Plan pegs the construction costs for “Enterprise Park” at $5.6 million, which is a rough estimate since no plan existed in 2014.
The area features a campground built by the Navy that has mature evergreen trees and numbered campsites. With infrastructure upgrades, the campground could be reopened for tent camping.
Next to the campground is the former Navy recreation building, which contains a dance floor, laundromat area, kitchen and café seating area. During a 2016 visit inside the building requested by Councilmember Frank Matarrese, the city’s property manager said the cost of rehabbing and repurposing the building would be too high to justify the expense. At least two companies had considered leasing the building and fixing it up but walked away after seeing the condition.
The roof is in failing condition. There are masonry steps inside that lead up to a sitting area overlooking the old dance floor. Making the building ADA-compliant, code compliant and reconfiguring the floor plan for new uses would likely rule out saving the building.
Constructing a new building for today’s vision, which could include a marine ecological and wildlife science center, management office for the campground, equipment storage, and restrooms, may be the better option. A coffee shop in part of the building might be popular.
Now is an opportune time to weigh-in on what should be included in the park’s master plan. The city is nearing completion of the new Encinal Boat Ramp nearby. A new public restroom at the boat ramp has been completed as part of this state-funded City project.
In 2020, EBRPD will re-landscape and upgrade the dune at the beach, including removal of the rusted out barge in the shoreline where the fence is located next to the trail. A new canoe and kayak launching area will be located where the old barge will be removed, instead of going across the dune to the beach as now happens.
Please take the survey by December 3 and stay engaged.
Recreation building interior photos from 2016
Click on photos to enlarge