Oakland, CA – The City of Oakland was awarded $18.2 million through the California State Parks’ Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program to increase access to the outdoors, contribute to a better quality of life, and improve physical, mental, and social health.
“Our city’s parks are beloved spaces that serve all Oakland families, and I’m grateful to Gov. Newsom and California State Parks for making such a large and meaningful investment into our community,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “These grants will help us build a new Lincoln Recreation Center, create a “Green Schoolyard” for Bridges Academy, and make major improvements to Verdese Carter Park! We’re making our park system more accessible and more equitable for all.”
“This is fantastic news for the entire City of Oakland. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to increase participation and provide healthy activities for Oaklanders,” said Oakland Parks, Recreation & Youth Development (OPRYD) Director J. Nicholas Williams. “Lincoln Square is one of our most heavily used facilities and serves a wide variety of community, including many senior programs and Oakland's signature Town Camp summer experience for youth. In partnership with the Oakland Police Activities League (PAL), Verdese Carter Park is a youth development hub in the heart of East Oakland.
The $18 million grants will fund three projects:
Lincoln Square Park and Rec Center Renovation $8.5 million
Create a new Community Center, outdoor classroom, badminton court, 2 patio/garden areas; improve landscaping and lighting throughout the park, and renovate three existing basketball courts.
Verdese Carter Park Renovation $8.4 million
Construct a new community plaza with entry promenades, large group picnic and nature play areas, outdoor fitness area, walking loop, and shade structure to expand programming space. Renovate the playground, community garden, and multi-use field. The grant and improvement project are a collaboration between OPRYD, Oakland Public Works, The Trust for Public Lands (TPL), Oakland PAL and the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation.
Bridges Academy Green Schoolyard Park $1.3 million
Transform a paved, outdated, and sparsely shaded schoolyard into a vibrant community park in East Oakland. Construct a new outdoor classroom, nature play area, playground with shade, basketball court, soft-surface running track, public art mural and mosaic seating area, two eating areas, shade structures, and landscaping and lighting throughout the park. Renovate the game court and field. This project is part of a larger pilot for the Oakland Living Schoolyards Initiative, a Trust for Public Land/Oakland Unified School District collaboration aimed at converting schoolyards in Oakland's disadvantaged communities into thriving green spaces.
“We are thrilled about the state’s investment in Lincoln Square Park and Recreation Center. Lincoln Square is the heart of Chinatown’s cultural and community life, and a critical place for programming for our elders, young people and families, serving not only Chinatown residents but our AAPI and Oakland community at large,” says City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas (District 2). “The state’s $8.5 million investment, along with the City’s $4 million commitment will help ensure a successful and much-needed expansion. Thank you to the Friends of Lincoln Square Park for your leadership and partnership with my office and the city to engage our community. The expanded two-story center with significantly more amenities will be an incredible asset for current and future Oaklanders.”
“With this $8.4M investment into Verdese Carter Park, our state has demonstrated its commitment to curtailing the long-standing inequities in marginalized communities,” said District 7 Councilmember Treva Reid. “East Oakland students, families, and furry friends deserve the opportunity to have access to clean and safe recreational spaces in the heart of East Oakland. We are incredibly grateful for our Governor, state partners and the City of Oakland for their work on this initiative. We look forward to seeing its positive impact in District 7.”
“At the Trust for Public Land (TPL) we believe that quality parks and open space, and the benefits they provide, should be accessible to everyone," said Alejandra Chiesa, Bay Area Program Director for The Trust for Public Land. "These are more than park projects; we see them as investments in community health, environmental justice, and equity. We are proud to have a strong partnership with the City of Oakland and look forward to seeing these projects become reality.”
“These incredible grant awards reflect what happens when stakeholders across the board come together to deliver real change and center community priorities across the diversity of Oakland’s neighborhoods,” Oakland Public Works (OPW) Director G. Harold Duffey said. “OPW is grateful for OPRYD’s leadership to drive this process, the hard work of our own dedicated staff, and most importantly to the community members who are getting involved, making their voices heard, and partnering with local government to invest in the changes they want to see.”
"The Oakland PAL Board of Directors, members, volunteers, and supporters thank TPL and the entire team for their diligence in seeing this project through and are grateful for the grant award for Verdese Carter Park, home of Oakland PAL,” said retired Sergeant Mildred Oliver, Executive Director of Oakland PAL. “Every kid needs a PAL and this award will ensure that Oakland PAL will continue filling playgrounds, not prisons!”