Letter(s) to the Editor: The Degreening of Temescal Creek Park

May 9, 2013
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(RE Oct. 16, 2012 Letter to the Editor from Eric Gascoyne: Cut Spending, Save the Trees at Temescal Creek Park)

To the Editor:

Thanks (to Eric Gascoyne) for writing his letter. I went to the City Council meeting and spoke on behalf of the trees and the hawks. I’m glad we have saved them for now. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the park project has made a park with lots of potential into an ugly “inner city”-looking park. They paved over the entire grassy area, giving ample room for vandals to break glass, urinate, and tag on the abundant hard surfaces. If you urinate on grass or on a tree, nature will deal with it, this is not the case for man-made materials. Will Emeryville parents really want their kids riding trikes through busted glass and human urine, passing by swear words tagged all over the play structures? Do you remember who actually hung out on the former play structures? Usually they were not children. This combined with Emeryville taking over the Oakland school on Adeline and 53rd Street, sending waves of high schoolers up 53rd – littering, loitering, selling drugs and even trying to steal my cell phone, has made my neighborhood seem much worse. Now, instead of a park, I live next to an inner-city playground and a dog run. Remember when groups of people got together to host events, concerts and picnics in the park? Do you remember people doing Tai Chi, Karate, Parcor, training dogs, and strumming guitars, all integrated as a community in one common area? Now the space has been deintegrated and degreened. Not a very progressive project and obviously designed by people who do not understand or care about the area.

Francis, Emeryville resident

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To the Editor:

A lovely, vibrant mixed-use park has been destroyed to create a paved over, padded romper room that leaves only a narrow patch of open green space. After all the local communities’ issues with their plan, Emeryville did some trimming of trees that they initially intended to completely remove (out of safety concerns for all the children they expect to come to the park). But they did not change or modify plans to move or reduce the amount of paved play structure area. I fully expect that once the first branch falls, they’ll swoop back in and remove the trees anyway. This is how Emeryville rolls. Thanking the community profusely for taking an interest, then doing exactly what they intended to do in the first place. Removing those trees will remove wildlife habitat. The hawks living and breeding there for years will be a casualty. But there will be a play area that no one but vandals and high school kids will use.

Emeryville’s idea of city planning has a decidedly suburban feel and is typically undertaken with HUGE spending in the initial phases. It’s as if they’ve discovered a very efficient formula – spend a ton of money before it’s even approved, and then everyone on the Planning Committee and City Council feels somehow obligated to make whatever non-essential pet project happen to justify the expense. Amateur and provincial – not the urban leaders they aspire to be. Temescal Creek Park and a planned Skate Park between the shopping center and Pixar are just two examples. Who puts a skate park in a parking lot? And WHY? Aren’t there other things that money should be spent on? Ridiculous.

What they’ve done on the Oakland edge is out of step with the neighborhood and wrong-minded. I used to think Emervyille progressive. I no longer do.

Trisha Ristagno

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