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Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Fund

Land and Water Conservation Fund Grants
$2 Million to Jean Sweeney Park

July 13, 2015

Amy Wooldridge
Interim Assistant City Manager
(510) 747-7570

California State Parks Awards $2 Million Grant for Jean Sweeney Open Space Park

The California Department of Parks and Recreation announced a $2 million grant for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF program provides funding to public agencies for acquisition and development projects that create outdoor recreational resources. This year $6,142,673 was awarded to ten park projects state-wide. The Jean Sweeney Open Space Park grant is the largest award this year. The LWCF grant requires a 50% local match and through a development agreement for the Del Monte Building, Tim Lewis Communities provided $2 Million for Jean Sweeney Open Space Park that the City used as the required match. The City would not otherwise have had the matching funds to apply. The grant funding is pending final approval from the National Park Service which is anticipated soon.

“Amy Wooldridge’s efforts to apply for and receive grants on behalf of our City are commendable and critical. This park will be enjoyed by all Alamedans,” stated Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer.

The Jean Sweeney Open Space Park is located on the former Alameda Beltline Railroad property that was secured by the City at its original purchase price due to the advocacy efforts of local resident, Jean Sweeney. This area extends from Constitution Way and Atlantic Avenue (by the Alameda Food Bank) to Sherman Avenue.

This 22-acre park includes open space natural areas and active uses such as picnic areas, playgrounds, a community garden, and walking and biking trails. This grant funds Phase 2 which is the most eastern portion of the park near Sherman Street. It includes a natural playground; a large group picnic area with a gazebo, picnic pavilion and open lawn; a plaza area; bicycle and walking trails; small picnic areas; and a natural open landscape area with California native, drought-tolerant plants.

“The California Department of Parks and Recreation has been a strong partner with the City of Alameda through its steadfast support of the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park,” said Interim Assistant City Manager, Amy Wooldridge. “We appreciate their commitment to this project. This park will be an incredible asset as it is added to our treasured Alameda parks system.”

The park also includes the Cross-Alameda Trail as Phase 1. This bike/walk recreational and commuter trail is fully funded by the Active Transportation Program federal funds in the amount of $2.5 million. The design for the trail portion of the project is already underway. The funding secured for Jean Sweeney Open Space Park now totals $6.5 million.

The history of this park is rich and colorful. After the railroad was decommissioned, the land was slated to be sold to a housing developer. Through intensive research and time, Jean Sweeney, a neighbor of the railroad land, tirelessly researched and found the original contract between the City and the railroad, which entitled the City to purchase the land back at the original purchase price plus improvements. This land was valued at $20 million and the City purchased it for just under $1 million. Jean Sweeney also initiated a ballot measure to zone the land as Open Space, which passed by a large majority of the voters. The process to develop the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Master Plan exemplified the residents’ deep-rooted commitment for this park development. Kristoffer Köster of KKDesign, developed the park’s Master Plan at no cost to the City. Over 1,000 residents participated in the master plan design process. Additionally, 313 residents attended a community work day plus over 200 people from the Latter Day Saints worked to paint and renovate the onsite railroad office building.

Amy Wooldridge
Interim Assistant City Manager
City of Alameda
(510) 747-4714

Seat of the City of Alameda

Park Master Plan

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Published on:  July 19, 2015