New Playground for Oakland (CA)

OAKLAND, CA—Oakland City Councilmember Dick Spees and Dr. Harry Edwards, Director of Oakland’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Department, joined Fruitvale community leaders to cut the ribbon today on the newly rebuilt Nicol Park. The dignitaries were joined by students from Fruitvale Elementary School, their parents, other residents of Fruitvale, as well as representatives of the Trust for Public Land and the community group, Fruitvale Appreciating Cultural Exchange (FACE).

After the ceremony and performances, the playground was swarmed by children who later lined up for food that represented the diversity of the community—dim sum, fried chicken, Vietnamese spring rolls, agua frescas and cake.

The rebuilt playground is the second project of the Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) Bay Area Community Parks and Playgrounds Program. The first project is the newly rebuilt Lincoln Playground in Oakland’s Chinatown. TPL and the City of Oakland worked together to choose potential project sites. Nicol Park was chosen because it was in great need of improvements and served a low-to-moderate income community.

TPL secured funding for park improvements through the San Francisco Foundation and other sources and conducted a community design charette to come up with a design for a new play structure.

“We are very grateful to the San Francisco Foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, and our other supporters for their generous funding of this project,” remarked Garlen Capita, Program Manager for the Trust for Public Land.

The Trust for Public Land held two community design workshops at Nicole Park. Members of the community were encouraged to give their feedback and ideas for the park design. The community’s vision for the park was incorporated into a master plan for the new park design. TPL also held two workshops with students of Fruitvale Elementary School, and a second community design day to finalize the master plan for the new Nicol Park.

At the ceremony, TPL awarded Gwen Jackson, the Executive Director of FACE, TPL’s first annual Bay Area Park and Open Space Stewardship Award. The $500 cash gift and framed certificate was given to Jackson for her long-term work with the Fruitvale community to improve Nicol Park.

The Trust for Public Land is a national, nonprofit land conservation organization that works nationwide to conserve land for people. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres of land including the creation or revitalization of hundreds of urban parks. In the San Francisco Bay Area, TPL has protected more than 20,000 acres including the King Estates Park and Skyline Ranch in Oakland.