Splash Pad News – May 2023

Editor’s Note: A big round of the applause for all the subscribers who opened and clicked on last month’s blast email – setting an all-time record. 

Grand Avenue Merchant News
by Ken Katz – In last month’s article about vacant storefronts in the Grand Lake District, we noted that the Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA) was doing relatively well with only six vacancies. This month, we’re delighted to report that three of those spaces have since been leased beginning with Brite Cleaners at 3349 Grand.  According to Timmy Nguyen, the owner of Miss Saigon which is right next door, it’s going to reopen as a Boba Tea bar. A peek inside revealed heavy construction already underway including a dropped ceiling and trenching for a new drainage line which is a major requirement whenever a space is retrofitted for prepared foods of any kind. Miss Saigon’s other next-door neighbor, Smitty’s has recently been leased after being closed for a couple of years. The new owners are JJ Jenkins and Shari Murphy who partnered in purchasing Baggy’s By the Lake in 2021.  CONTINUE READING

Odds and Ends
by Ken Katz – This month’s Odds and Ends column seems like the perfect venue to write about the homeless guy who camped out on Grand Avenue under the freeway overpass for nearly a decade. His behavior was clearly odd and his end, more or less preordained given current circumstances. Gustavo Guzman died in mid-March at the age of 48. Hardly anyone knew his name or history with the exception of  Joanne Devereaux who contributed a compassionate portrait of him, titled Gustavo Parts Unknown, for the October 2020 Splash Pad News. It’s highly-recommended reading as a reminder that each and everyone of the homeless individuals we’re encountering on the streets have their own unique histories. 
Also in this months odds and ends: the Grand Opening of the Lake Merritt Freedom Market is scheduled for May 20 and Open Studio Tours begin May 12.         

Farmers Market
by Ken Katz – Dan Foster retired as the Market Manager a couple of months ago and is now a stay-at-home Dad. In the interim, the Agricultural Institute of Marin has been looking for a permanent replacement – preferably someone who comes from Oakland and has the necessary experience.  Stay tuned for an announcement of a new hire sometime soon. In the meanwhile, the newest vendors at the market are the Mill Valley Pasta Company and Silver Sky Ranch. 

As we go press, the music calendar is not yet settled for the entire month but David Gans will be performing on the 20th in conjunction with a book-signing event for Deep Oakland, Andrew Alden’s just published volume about Oakland’s geologic history.  CONTINUE READING

Splash Pad Park
Mary Jo Sutton’s Grand Crew volunteer team’s celebration of Earth Day was a big success thanks in large part to an enthusiastic turnout of Grand Lake neighbors as well as parents, kids, and staff members from the Beatie Street Preschool and Kindergarten. A special shout-out to Mary Jo, to Breezy Madar (the school’s Director), to Judy Kahn (the former Director) and to Nikki Fortunato Bas who handles a mini-mattock as deftly as the gavel she holds in her role as City Council President. Next 4th Sunday work day will be May 28 from 9 to Noon. 

May 2023 Calendar
by Sheila McCormick – This month’s top picks:
May 5, Friday, 7-8pm *ZOOM* Rotary Nature Center Friends. Microscopic Marvels of Lake Merritt “Lagoon”. Register here.  
May 17, Wednesday, 7-8pm *ZOOM* Friends of the Alameda Free Library. Docent Webinar: Ansel Adams In Our Time. Mike Madrid will discuss the exhibition at the de Young Museum. Register here
May 20, Saturday, 10am-1pm *ZOOM* Green Home Tour. East Bay Green Home Tour 2023. See and hear what East Bay residents do with their homes to combat climate change, improve air quality, generate clean energy, save water, and move toward a safer, healthier, greener, and more resilient future. Register here.

For the full month’s calendar, please click on this link

Our 115 year-old Calendar of the Month 




One response to “Splash Pad News – May 2023”

  1. Heather Holmes Avatar
    Heather Holmes

    Mr.Guzman was indeed a fixture under 580. He was a friendly, yet shy, individual who always said hi when I walked by or wen I would occasionally see him in Safeway. I am sorry he (or anyone) had to live – and die – on the street. I hope he is in a better place; comfortable and safe.