Imagine, if you will, a special interest group meeting with members of Alameda City Staff. Let’s also imagine that during this meeting it’s proposed that the group will not insist on getting something that they need at a very specific location at a very specific time and in return they want support from the City to get what they want somewhere else at a time to be determined.
Sounds pretty shady eh?
I believe when you work out a deal like this outside of the public process, it’s generally referred to as being done in a back room, no?
But I guess it’s not too shady and instead it’s a “win-win” when it comes to the Alameda Beltline and Youth Sports.
At the meeting last week about the Beltine Visioning meeting, the Rec and Park director mentioned this part during her presentation:
Excerpt of the key part for those that don’t want to bother with the video:
…I met recently, we were having our regular spring field allocation meeting with all of our youth athletic groups who use our athletic fields and Pat Bail in particular had brought up the concept I was talking about about upcoming opportunities and she had brought up the concept of, well, Jean Sweeney was her friend, she really wanted to respect Jean’s wishes and so the group started to talk about it more and we had a vote and a consensus of the entire group which was representatives from all of our athletic field users saying that they wanted to support more passive uses at the Beltline and put their support toward that and not push for athletic fields there in turn they’re asking for support from everybody who wants passive use there to then support them to find funding and have City support for Estuary Park and renovating that.
So let me clarify this for you. A plot of land directly under the landing path for planes at Oakland International Airport was perfect for hundreds of Alameda kids and families to use on a daily basis meaning that people who lives on the main Alameda island would have to schlep all the way over to Bay Farm, mainly by car. Also, a plot of land way on the West End of Alameda (parcel 1A on the map) also would be a perfect place to put athletic fields which can really only be accessed by car for the large majority of folks in Alameda that would be using it. But a piece of land right smack near the center of Alameda which could be accessed via bike, bus, on foot, and had the added bonus of seas of unused parking spaces on weekends and evenings because of the business park nearby, that should be passive space which may be used by a small fraction of the users of athletic fields. Got it.
Essentially it sounds like without push back from the kids sports coalition, it’s a done deal that the Beltline will end up being a passive park, but we’ll see how much support the kids sports coalition will get from the passive park supporters when they start needing financial and City support. I’m not really sure where the win for the kids sports side in this is, because Estuary Park was always supposed to be sports fields.
Personally, making the Estuary Park and the North Loop properties passive and the Beltline an active park would be a much stronger planning decision particularly given the usage patterns.