- The proposal to relocate the outdated fire station from 1235 International Blvd to a new fire station in San Antonio Park will reduce the size of one of Oakland’s largest parks by 5-10%, which is located in a high poverty, high crime, majority minority community. CA health places index score for San Antonio neighborhood (zip code 94606) = 13.7 percentile
- Taking away parkland and tennis courts permanently removes open space and recreation facilities needed for public health, improved air quality, and for wildlife / habitat.
- Park land is not “free” land to be given away. This is valuable land that was designated for park use many years ago! The City wants to pave over part of a park to save a couple million dollars. There is no price that can be set to give away a half an acre, or even a quarter acre.
- San Antonio Park is the site of many cultural events and gatherings, including Cinco de Mayo celebrations and the Malcom X JazzArts Festival each year.
- Lands that were designated as parks are for the people. For the City to determine that parks can be sacrificed is an affront to all the efforts of conservationists and park lovers in the past who worked for many hours, days and months to preserve our parks for future generations.
- We, the residents of Oakland, voted to tax ourselves when we passed Measure KK, a parcel tax that dedicated funding for street and infrastructure repair, as well as parks improvements. It is a breach of trust for the City to turn around and use the money to plan for a new fire station and claim it is an “improvement” to the park!
- The taking of public parkland violates the Open Space, Conservation and Recreation (OSCAR) Element of Oakland’s General Plan, which was passed by council after years of input by community members in 1996. One of the key stipulations of OSCAR was that there should be no net loss of public open space in the city. (Chapter 2, Open Space, page 2-2.)
- On page 2-4 of the Open Space document (OSCAR) is a table listing the amount of Open Space as a % of total land area by neighborhood / district. The San Antonio district’s Open Space as a % of total land is 5.2%* – among the lowest ratio by neighborhood in Oakland!
- Giving away parkland to pave over and turn it into a Fire Station contradicts Oakland’s 2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan, which promised a “deep decarbonization” and committed to “Rehabilitate Riparian Areas and Open Space”
- A park giveaway now sets an extremely bad precedent that will be replicated in other areas of Oakland and potentially also other East Bay cities.
* See https://cao-94612.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/oak035254.pdf > page 43 > table 2: total acreage and open space by planning area. A screen shot from this PDF is shown below.
We are a diverse group of neighbors committed to the preservation of our park. Some of us play in the park. Others take their kids there. One of us runs a boxing clinic in the park. Another runs her own non profit. Another picks up litter and takes care of the trees. To all of us, the park represents community, inclusion, and health. It is vital to all of us to protect this community resource and fight this misguided land grab that will lead to permanent loss of land and recreation opportunity. Please contact the campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org
Current author of this blog is Kent Lewandowski. Contact me at kentlewan at gmail dot com
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