Kid-Designed Park in West Oakland Now Open (CA)
Oakland, CA, 7/29/06 – Just four months ago, Bertha Port Park in West Oakland was unkempt and uninviting. The quarter-acre pocket park consisted of a sandy lot, a single tree, and a forlorn blue dolphin statue. Today, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), the City of Oakland, and the community celebrated the grand opening of the newly redesigned park, complete with a lawn, picnic tables, a new play structure, fountain, and mosaic and tile projects completed by neighborhood children. This day marks the culmination of more than 5 years of hard work and community involvement that have transformed this small space into a green oasis.
The Trust for Public Land raised $450,000 to help fund the Bertha Port Park project, and oversaw the redevelopment process from conception to completion. TPL’s Parks for People Bay Area Program initiated a community outreach and design process in the spring of 2002 to identify the features local residents wanted for their park. They then hired Hood Design to help translate the community’s ideas into reality.
Reed Holderman, Executive Director of TPL-California, thanked the many groups and individuals whose support was vital to this project: “Without help and cooperation from the City of Oakland and the local community, we wouldn’t be here today. As always, TPL can only do this important work because of the support of our generous donors and foundations.”
The new Bertha Port Park transforms what was a sandy lot into a usable and beautiful environment suitable for residents of all ages. The park includes a number of new features, including two community art installations. Painted tiles created by neighborhood children adorn a seat wall alongside the water feature, and an unsightly dolphin statue has been given new life through a mosaic project designed by mural artist Laurel True. Day after day for a week, kids filed in from homes nearby to fill in Laurel’s design with colorful tile shards. The park also features a new play structure, benches, a picnic table, trees and a lawn.
“This park is a great asset for the many children in the neighborhood and at the local Head Start Center,” said Councilmember Nancy Nadel. “We’ve been lost without it during clean-up and renovation and we’re very excited to get it back again more beautiful than ever.”
“As the Director of Oakland Parks and Recreation, I am thrilled and certainly honored that TPL has once again supported us in creating a green city and safe and playable environments for our youngsters and families,” said Audree Jones-Taylor. “Without the support of TPL, many of our recreation facilities and parks would not be the assets that they are today.”
“This is a very proud day for many of us who have worked hard to see this park reborn.” said local resident Marilyn Reynolds, who worked for 6 years to see this day come. “It turned out beautifully, and I look forward to seeing this place full of adults and children enjoying themselves.”
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected 2 million acres nationwide. In the Bay Area, TPL has created more than 125 special places, totaling more than 27,000 acres. TPL’s Parks for People-Bay Area Program aims to put a park within reach of every child. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. Find TPL on-line at www.tpl.org.