The last 12 months have been difficult as we face so many challenges due to COVID 19. Many people have turned to nature to deal with stress and an opportunity to get outdoors while social distancing. Our beloved Joaquin Miller Park has been no exception with this as we have seen the number of visitors to the park increase four times over the course of the last year. Our park has been neglected and overdue for maintenance for many years. The increase of visitors has exacerbated (magnified) this need. FoJMP Board members have been meeting to decide what we can do to (assist the City) address these needs and get much needed maintenance done. You might be wondering how the park came to be in such a state of disrepair. Prior to 1978’s Proposition 13 that limited property taxes, Joaquin Miller Park had many rangers and the City had 10 teams of arborists. There are currently no rangers for JMP and one team of arborists for the entire City. Last October the Board started a Development Committee to work towards raising funds to address these needs. While Measure Q was passed by voters in 2020 to address park maintenance and homelessness, the only money allotted for JMP is for bathroom cleaning.
The Development Committee is embarking upon FoJMP’s first ever fundraising campaign to raise funds for the following projects.
Restore the Cascade The Cascade was built by the Works Project Administration (WPA) in 1941. It is beautiful when it is flowing with water which hasn’t happened in several years. The Cascade was restored about 20 years ago but when the water was turned off during a drought, the pipes deteriorated. Even with a drought, it is better to run recycled water through the Cascade to keep the system working. There is a leak in the bottom pool that needs to be repaired. Council member Sheng Thao has committed $170,000 to get the Cascade working again. This will cover only part of the restoration. FoJMP needs to raise at least $100,000 more to get the water flowing again.
Renovate the Bathrooms JMP has five sets of bathrooms, none of which meet ADA regulations. The bathrooms near the horse arena have been closed for over five years due to pipes and electrical lines being stolen. Two of the other bathrooms are often locked. The bathrooms are often dirty and trash covered. Measure Q funds will pay for twice daily cleaning of all of the park bathrooms. The City has not hired staff for this yet due to COVID. In 2020 the Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation surveyed 1334 Oakland residents about their opinions regarding our parks. Respondents stated the top two barriers to using the parks were deplorable bathroom conditions and poor maintenance. This concern is greater for people bringing children to the park and for people coming from outside the immediate neighborhood as they can’t run home to use a bathroom. This makes it an equity issue as people who don’t live near the park have unequal access. Council member Sheng Thao has plans to rebuild two of these bathrooms if funds become available. We are raising funds to partner with the City and get the renovations under way now. Due to COVID, it is ever more important to have clean and sanitary restrooms available for all park visitors to use.
Rebuild Trails Our much loved trails are being negatively impacted by erosion. This is affecting forest undergrowth that has led to some areas of the park to be barren. We have plans to rebuild two trails, Cinderella and Chaparral, as these are the most affected. We are partnering with the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay on this. They have extensive trail building experience.
Refresh the Tot Lot The Tot Lot is close to busy Joaquin Miller Road. We plan to build an enclosure around the play area to prevent children running into the street. We also plan to move the gate back to open up some space to allow for off street parking making it safer to get young children in and out of the car.
Reduce Fire Hazards Numerous trees have been dying in JMP due to a variety of reasons. This is creating a dangerous fire risk for the park and surrounding neighborhoods. Oakland has lived through the fast moving 1991 fire and we have seen the recent, devastating firestorms in our neighboring communities. We need to do everything we can to prevent this. We need to raise funds to remove dead trees.
Help preserve and improve your park. Let’s make the park a place that people from all over Oakland can enjoy for years to come. Donate today. Click on the link above to donate now.
If you have questions about any of these issues, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you in advance for your support.