Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 8, 2019

Not in our front yard

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I think I have now seen it all in the annals of Alameda NIMBYism.  At the September Rec and Park Commission meeting there was an agenda item about building a playground at Jackson Park.  The suggestions from staff were more along the lines of building a small natural play area.  Sounds great right?

Well not if you live directly on the park apparently.  Somehow the idea of having any type of playground was super terrible to some neighbors even though the genesis of the idea to have a play area at Jackson Park came from, guess where, neighbors of Jackson Park.

One of the arguments from neighbors fronting the park was that the support for the playground came from people who live near the park but not on the park.  Why this makes a difference I’m not sure.  You can read a synopsis of the public comment here but  let’s just say they are heavily sanitized from the actual sentiments expressed verbally.

Here’s a sample including telling people they could just go to other parks if they wanted a built out play space:

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In direct contrast to the last comment, another commenter indicated that the desire to keep everything the same was very uninviting to neighbors who don’t front on the park which brings up the question of who gets to enjoy Jackson Park.

As it’s a City owned and maintained park, it is for everyone to enjoy and not just the people who live in parcels that just happen to front on that parcel.  And if the will of the larger neighborhood to have something there — and there is money in the budget — to help activate the park and make it more attractive for folks to spend some time there, there is no veto power exclusive to people who live across the road from the park.

Anyone who has ever been to Alameda Landing will know that you can literally just put in a small hill and the kids will flock and have a blast playing on that small hill. It doesn’t even sound like the proponents wanted the traditional slides and swings type of an operation, but rather just a small carve out.

The commission voted to create a small natural play space with lots of input from the community.


  1. At some level I understand the complaints. The park has a well earned reputation for lowlifes hanging around drinking and getting high and to worry about adding to that is legitimate.

    But attracting families and kids, as well as some walkers & exercisers, would be a positive and would likely encourage the lowlifes to go elsewhere. If I lived along Park Ave I would support playground, more picnic tables, and increased use of the gazebo. It’s the closest thing we have to a town square and more public events there would be a good thing. Concerts, candidate forums, theater, etc

    Comment by dave — October 8, 2019 @ 7:30 am

    • I accompany my grandchildren once a week to a playground park in the Oakland/Montclair area. There are a few of these type of parks scattered around the area — they attract families. Everyone at the park is a child, a parent or grandparent, or a a care-taker. It’s a safe place for children to play and connect with other children.

      Jackson Park would have been perfect for this type of use, how unfortunate.

      Comment by Karen Bey — October 8, 2019 @ 8:47 am

      • I agree with you, Karen, and I do support this specific project and parks in general, but one thing that might be on people’s minds is Union Point Park on the Oakland side of the estuary, which *used* to be a fantastic playground & park. I took my toddlers there many a time back in those years.

        It’s, uh, different now……

        Comment by dave — October 8, 2019 @ 9:05 am

      • Meant to say care giver, not care taker. It will also attract families with young children wanting to live in that specific neighborhood. They will have influence on what goes on in the park, and what structures get built, etc.

        I could see easter egg hunts, a visit from Santa Clause during Christmas and other events for the kids.

        But looks like it won’t happen!

        Comment by Karen Bey — October 8, 2019 @ 10:31 am

    • This is exactly right. The reason why Jackson Park attracts so much loitering is because it’s so bare and absent of, well, anything. Put in a play structure, make it more alluring for kids and their families, and much of the nuisance problem will go away.

      Comment by JRB — October 8, 2019 @ 9:22 am

  2. Yeah. It used to be called “needle park” and was a gathering place for teenagers. I am sure the residents don’t want a return to that. But when you live facing a park you can hardly suggest it shouldn’t be used as such. For a playground, the City needs a curfew, new crosswalks, better lighting, fences, and a regular police presence to make it safe for kids. Franklin Park is the model.

    Comment by Concerned — October 8, 2019 @ 7:49 am

  3. Been taking my kids there monthly for a few years and have not seen the “lowlifes” or needles mentioned. Maybe it has changed a bit? Just some nasty tree fungus/ mushroom that we tried to stay away from and lots of people walking dogs.

    Comment by michonnekatana — October 8, 2019 @ 8:09 am

  4. Back in the day…60s and 70s, that park was the “call out” spot for high school girls who were trying to date the same guy. Some juicy stare downs and hair pulling.

    Comment by Jack — October 8, 2019 @ 8:31 am

  5. Make that 50s and 60s.

    Comment by Jack — October 8, 2019 @ 8:32 am

  6. It’s a nice sized park so there is probably room for a small carve out, natural, etc. Given the difficult parking around there, it probably won’t attract overwhelming crowds. Also, fences are not an excuse to let eyes glue themselves exclusively to smartphones, even if on the blogging bayport page

    Comment by MP — October 8, 2019 @ 11:24 am

  7. We walk through there often, with one or both kiddos. When I mention it’s a park to our 3 year old, she says “noooo, there’s no playground here.” Glad to hear that something, even if it’s small, is in the works.

    Comment by drewda — October 9, 2019 @ 10:21 pm

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