Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends – July 2023

The stunning exterior landscape at the International African American Museum in Charleston, which was dedicated this past Saturday and opened to the public on Tuesday, is the latest project to come out of the Hood Design Studio in West Oakland. This June 23 article in the New York Times is very comprehensive but may not be accessible if you’re not a subscriber. The brief description on the Hood Design website is of particular interest, since it also lists (and links to) twenty-nine projects they’ve completed beginning with Courtland Creek in 1997. Splash Pad is thirteenth on the list.

In an August 2021 article, we wrote about the Black International Marketplace between the Lakeview Library and the Pergola. The newest incarnation, which continues to be sponsored and supported by the City of Oakland, is now called the Lake Merritt Freedom Market. It’s on my calendar this weekend, starting with one of Hal’s New York Style hot dogs.

Last month, we reported on the big turnout at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church to air complaints and talk about solutions to the major uptick in crime. Quite by chance, we’ve since come across a similar (but much better written) 2017 article by our copy editor Keila Diehl titled, “This is an Opportunity to Transform, Y’all.”

The next Grand Lake Neighbors meeting will be on Wednesday, July 19 from 7–8:30pm in Barnett Hall up the driveway to the left of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church. The agenda will include a report from OPD; a presentation regarding the long-postponed vehicle charging station in the Walker Avenue parking lot; and info about a Lakeshore Retail Attraction Committee that will involve all community stakeholders in the recruitment and retention of area retail establishments.

Debra Israel in Council President Bas’s office shared some info about a new program called Town Nights.  It’s a series of free community events hosted Friday evenings from 6-10pm during the summer months that offers safe spaces for families, friends, and neighbors to come together and enjoy free food, music, games, and more. District 2 locations include San Antonio Park at 1701 East 19th Street & Lincoln Square Park at 261-11th Street. Debra also emailed a copy of a formal statement from Mayor Sheng Thao regarding the Council’s passage of a balanced budget in the face of an unprecedented deficit. A summary from Nikki Bas of the measures specifically benefitting District 2 is appended below.

  • Activating parks and renovating recreation centers & a fire station: The Capital Improvement Project Budget via Measure U is funding the renovation/expansion of the Lincoln Recreation & Resilience Center; a feasibility study to kick off the master planning for San Antonio Park and a future Community Library and Resilience Center; and the renovation of Fire Station 4 in Central OaklandClinton Park in Little Saigon is getting a boost of parks improvement funding from Measure Q ($100k+). For Lake Merritt, we’ve allocated $1 million per year in parking revenue for Lake Merritt to advance equity and inclusion, including supporting the Lake Merritt Freedom Market and other activities/events ($200k+), as well as park improvements ($150k) and expanding the park ambassadors program ($150K)
  • Traffic safety: Each Councilmember will have $100,000 for discretionary traffic calming projects. In San Antonio, we will make the traffic diverters along E 15th Street permanent to help address violence and sex trafficking. Around Lake Merritt, we’re allocating $100K per year for traffic calming from parking revenue. In addition, we set aside $770k for citywide traffic safety & violence prevention to help address issues such as side shows.
  • Supporting our economy and business community: To continue supporting businesses and growing our economy, we’ve included $1 million a year city-wide for Community Ambassadors in commercial corridors, including those in District 2. And, at our special Council meeting on June 28th, we approved the new Activate Oakland initiative with a grant of $434,000 to revitalize downtown and neighborhood commercial corridors by activating public spaces, incubating events, and promoting public safety awareness. The event program will offer sponsorships of $1,000 to $10,000 and will be administered by Visit Oakland. In addition to supporting areas in District 2 that have business districts/associations such as Grand Lake, Chinatown, Jack London and Little Saigon, we also hope to support neighborhoods like Eastlake, where local businesses such as those along lower Park Blvd. need support.