by Kathleen Boergers – The Astro Tot Lot Revitalization began to take shape in early December, thanks to a large group of volunteers coordinated by Abel Guillen’s office and with assistance from the Parks and Recreation Department, PG&E, and KaBOOM.
Since then, the community has awaited the finishing touches that need to be completed before the fences can come down. An ADA contractor is currently installing a bouncy playground surface, a new ADA parking space and a water filling station. The water station will be accessible to people of all heights and will be a nice replacement for the water fountain that was often clogged. I certainly look forward to sending my kids over to the filling station with a water bottle!
The original anticipated completion date was the end of February-early March. But the heavy rains were an X factor that kept that completion date uncertain. I was happy to see the work crews out this week during our sunny respite; hopefully, the park will be open later in March.
POSTSCRIPT: A large and enthusiastic crowd was on hand Thursday, March 30 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the official re-opening of the totally revamped Astro Tot Lot. Thanks to a much-needed break in the weather, a big push took place to complete the project in time for the Oakland Running Festival which will be using Eastshore Park as the assembly point for the Sunday, April 2 event.
Councilmember Abel Guillen officiated and, with a very broad smile, noted that “strong communities build parks – not walls.” That said, he rattled off a long list of organizations and individuals that made the project successful, beginning with those who donated financially and those who contributed labor. He also thanked Ken Lupoff from the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation for coordinating the fundraising and PG&E for much of the volunteer labor. That’s just scratching the surface – but I do want to add Mike Udkow to that list, since he took a lead role as a community member and also because he’s agreed to recruit community volunteers to help with ongoing maintenance. If you’re interested, you can reach Mike through Abel’s office. More photos and reporting on the opening celebration are in this Abel Guillen Facebook post.