Seven Trust for Public Land Projects Selected for Prop 68 Grant Funding

Park Equity and Access will increase for nearly 80,000 Californians thanks to TPL projects funded through the Statewide Park Program

December 8, 2021
SACRAMENTO

Today, California State Parks announced the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program (Statewide Park Program) grant recipients. 

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) submitted eight park equity proposals to the California Department of Parks and Recreation Statewide Park Program in March of this year and seven were approved for funding totaling $38,323,847. Nearly 80,000 Californians will now live within a 10-minute walk to a quality park and open space with these public funds and private philanthropy raised by TPL for these seven awarded projects.  

The grant program originally had $395 million to award in this final round but thanks to community advocacy, Governor Newsom and the Legislature increased the budget to $548.3 million with added funds from the budget surplus. In this final grant cycle, the program received $2.4 billion in total funding requests and awarded $548.3 million in grants to over 100 communities to expand all Californians’ access to the outdoors. 

“We’ve seen the physical and mental health benefits parks and green space provide to communities, but our data shows that nearly one third of Californians do not live within a 10-minute walk of a quality park,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, California State Director for The Trust for Public Land. “The park equity gap must be closed and thanks to the voters who approved Prop 68, the legislature, and Governor Newsom who increased funding this year, we are one step closer to ensuring that every person, in every neighborhood, has access to a great park.” 

In June 2018, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 68, the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act. The measure allocated $725 million to fund local park development, representing the single biggest investment for park equity in state history, and demonstrating the desire Californians have for protecting nature and access to the outdoors. 

Proposition 68 also ensures that at least 20% of all allocations in bond be spent in projects that serve 'severely disadvantaged communities' defined by the state as 60% or less of the median statewide household income. This provision was specifically drafted to address the historical inequities built into resource bonds of the past.  

The number of park applications the state received in this final round of bond funding only demonstrates the significant need to continue to make critical investments in public health and natural climate solutions to correct the park equity gap in California.  “The Trust for Public Land calls on Governor Newsom to include an additional round of funding for the Statewide Park Program in the 2023-2024 proposed state budget,” Rodriguez added. 

Below is a list of TPL supported projects that were awarded funding, and what that funding will help to complete at each property. For photos and other digital assets related to these projects, please contact Rebecca Bullis at [email protected].  

Alameda County 

  • Bridges Academy Green Schoolyard, Oakland – $1,315,000 application 

    • TPL, in partnership with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and Bridges Academy, will transform a paved, outdated, and sparsely shaded schoolyard into a vibrant community park in East Oakland. This proposal to the Statewide Park Program for Bridges Academy Green Schoolyard Project will create a new play structure, nature play area, basketball court, grass play field, running track, art, shade structures, and drinking fountains to the school campus. This project is part of a larger pilot for the Oakland Living Schoolyards Initiative, a TPL-OUSD collaboration aimed at converting schoolyards in Oakland's disadvantaged communities into thriving green spaces.  
  • Mateo Street Park, Ashland – $7,082,000 application 
    • The 1.4-acre parcel of land in Ashland, between Oakland and Hayward, is currently occupied by automotive industry and residential housing, and there is a critical lack of public parkland and recreational spaces. To address this critical need, TPL, together with Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District (HARD) and key Project partners, will transform the property on Mateo Street into a lushly canopied neighborhood park that provides an array of recreational features and amenities, including play equipment, picnic and BBQ zones, walking loop, sports court, and a multi-generational fitness area. As the property owner, HARD will be responsible for long-term operations and management of the park. 
  • Verdese Carter Park, Oakland – $8,439,000 application 
    • The Verdese Carter Park neighborhood is park-poor, diverse, low-income, and very high crime, yet the park is a safe haven for many surrounding residents with an active community partner on site. The proposed park renovation is the result of extensive community engagement, led by TPL, the City of Oakland, the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation and other project partners, which envisions a vibrant 3-acre urban park that will provide multiple recreation opportunities for a diverse community. Recreation elements include intergenerational fitness and play areas, shade structure, community plaza with stage and promenade, group picnic area, walking loop, seating, community garden, renovated multi-use fields, landscaping and shade trees, lighting, and a new park entrance.    

Contra Costa County 

  • Shields-Reid Park Revitalization (City of Richmond as applicant) – $8,000,000 application  

    • Shields-Reid Park is located in a community consisting of single-family homes and community survey results have consistently stated that parks are highly used and that the community would desire to have more amenities. Based on the survey and meetings, Shields-Reid Park will have the following features of a park that reflect the proud community history and heritage: new picnic area, new fitness zone, historical and cultural public art installations, new bike pump track, habitat garden and tree shade area throughout park, a new stage and performance area, new restroom, and new lighting and fencing throughout the park. This project will be designed, built and operated by the City of Richmond. TPL provided support during the grant application process. 

San Francisco County 

  • Buchanan Mall Renewal Project, San Francisco – $5,800,000 application 

    • TPL has been deeply involved in the community engagement process since 2014 and applied to the previous round of SPP funding in 2019. An outcome of an extensive community engagement process, the park will revitalize two blocks (between Eddy and Golden Gate streets) of Buchanan Street Mall, an existing pedestrian public park, built in the 1980s that covers five urban blocks in the Western Addition, a severely disadvantaged community near the Fillmore District. The park renovation is part of a larger community-driven renewal project which is intended to restore the park’s function and enjoyment as a dynamic, equitable, and safe neighborhood “front porch.” 
  • India Basin Shoreline Park (City of San Francisco as applicant) – $5,768,000 application 
    • Renovation of India Basin Shoreline Park will construct a new playground in a new location within the park, featuring separate play areas for younger children with sliding and climbing elements to promote active recreation and sheltered seating areas for passive recreation. It will also include construction of a new restroom, lighting installed on pathways and within the playground, landscaping in areas surrounding playground and, bio-retention basin to capture storm water runoff from impervious areas in and around the playground. This project is a partnership between San Francisco Rec Park, TPL, San Francisco Parks Alliance, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and other local community partners.      

Los Angeles County 

  • Urban Orchard (City of South Gate as applicant) – $1,919,847 application 

    • The project site is a vacant and fenced seven-acre lot owned by the City of South Gate and located between the Los Angeles River and the I-710 Long Beach Freeway. This unimproved and unused site is covered by soil, imported fill, and weedy vegetation, and a portion of the site was previously a solid waste landfill (prior to 1949), a plant nursery, and an occasional staging area for construction. The proposed project is a stand-alone first phase of a larger 30-acre park project that will create a new, critically needed urban park that will serve the local community, including for the neighboring Thunderbird Villa Mobile Home Park, a senior living facility, historically disinvested youth, and persons with disabilities. This funding will ensure that the seven-acre Phase 1 can be implemented as the community has envisioned throughout four years of project outreach.  

About The Trust for Public Land  

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org