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File #: 2021-634   
Type: Consent Calendar Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 3/2/2021
Title: Adoption of Resolution Authorizing Staff to Submit an Application for the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program Grant for Construction of Jean Sweeney Open Space Park - Western Phase. (Recreation 280)
Attachments: 1. Resolution

Title

 

Adoption of Resolution Authorizing Staff to Submit an Application for the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program Grant for Construction of Jean Sweeney Open Space Park - Western Phase.  (Recreation 280)

 

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Jean Sweeney Open Space Park (Sweeney Park) is the City of Alameda’s (City) largest park and after opening two of four phases in 2018. This resolution authorizes staff to apply for the Statewide Park Program grant, funded by Prop 68, the Parks, Environment, and Water Bond Act of 2018, and requires no matching funds.  The grant application is to update, design, and construct the most western phase of the park which, most notably, would include:

                     d a community garden with plots for Alameda residents;

                     free plots for Alameda Food Bank constituents, to address food insecurity in our community;

                     large plots for faith organizations and others to provide food for those in need; and

                     opportunities for educational workshops on garden related topics. 

 

This section of the park also includes a playground, outdoor classroom, tool and seed lending library that would be hosted by the Alameda Free Library, parking, lighting, restroom, and associated amenities.

 

BACKGROUND

 

Sweeney Park is a 25-acre community park located in the central west area of the community. The park site is the former Alameda Beltline Railroad property that was secured by the City, with significant advocacy by long-time resident Jean Sweeney.

 

On July 5, 2014, the City Council approved the Sweeney Park Master Plan, which includes the Cross Alameda Trail.  On July 9, 2016, the City Council approved a more detailed Sweeney Park Design Development Plan.  

 

In December 2018, Sweeney Park opened to the public with the completion of the Cross Alameda Trail section through the park and the eastern phase of the park.  Two phases in the center and to the west remain undeveloped until funding is secured.

 

DISCUSSION

 

The Statewide Park Program is a competitive grant program funded by the Parks, Environment, and Water Bond Act of 2018.  This is the final round of this grant program with $395.3 million available.  This resolution authorizes staff to apply for this grant funding to construct the western phase of the park.  Other unfunded park projects were reviewed for this grant opportunity; however, Sweeney Park was determined to best meet the criteria and have the highest chance for success with this extremely competitive grant program.

 

The western phase of Sweeney Park includes the community garden, a second playground, demonstration gardens to model drought tolerant landscapes, a tool and seed lending library in collaboration with the Alameda Free Library, an outdoor classroom, a second parking lot, restroom and small picnic areas.  The community garden is planned to serve Alameda residents, as well as address food insecurity in the community, through collaborations with the Alameda Food Bank, local faith organizations, and Alameda Backyard Growers.  A portion of the garden plots will be provided at no cost to Alameda Food Bank constituents, with gardening workshops and guidance provided by Alameda Backyard Growers.  Larger plots will be available to faith organizations who grow food to distribute to those who are in need. 

 

Staff will conduct additional public outreach and meetings prior to finalizing the grant application, which is due mid-March. This may include surveys with Alameda Food Bank constituents, an online public meeting for additional input on the current design, meetings with the Sweeney Park Steering Committee and Community Garden Committee as well as a discussion with the Recreation and Parks Commission.

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

Alternatives include:

                     Authorize staff to apply for the Statewide Park Program grant to fund construction of the western portion of Sweeney Park. 

                     Do not apply for the Statewide Park Program grant and seek other sources of construction funding.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no financial impact from adopting this resolution.  The grant, if received, does not require a local funding match.  All construction, associated soft costs and design updates will be funded by the grant.  However, as public bid construction costs are volatile, the Sweeney Park project could require financial contributions from the City that would be subject to future City Council appropriations approval. 

 

If the grant is awarded and the Sweeney Park western portion is constructed then there will be increased park maintenance costs to the General Fund. 

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

This action has no effect on the Alameda Municipal Code.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

On July 15, 2014, the City Council adopted a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) that reflects minimal environmental impacts due to this project, and those that do occur are related to the construction period (e.g. dust, construction traffic, etc.). Those potential impacts have been identified and mitigations will be implemented to minimize those impacts during construction.  Specifications and plans for construction will be consistent with the adopted MND.

CLIMATE IMPACT

 

Planting additional trees and utilizing mulch within the park will advance a stated Climate Action and Resiliency Plan goal to increase tree canopy coverage in the city and increase carbon sequestration, and reduce greenhouse gas in the community.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Adopt a resolution authorizing staff to submit an application for the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program grant for construction of Jean Sweeney Open Space Park - Western Phase. 

 

CITY MANAGER RECOMMENDATION

 

The City Manager recommends City Council approval to adopt a resolution authorizing staff to submit an application for the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program grant.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Amy Wooldridge, Recreation and Parks Director

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Annie To, Finance Director

 

 

cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager