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The Jean Sweeney Open Space Park now has a Facebook page!

October 28, 2015 - Special Rec & Parks Commission Meeting: Park Bike/Walk Path - Thursday Oct. 29, 2015 at 5:30pm in the City Council chambers at City Hall.

Please attend this very important meeting to express you viewpoint on the grant funding.

The special ARPD Recreation & Parks Commission meeting to discuss the dispute over funding the Bike/Walk Cross Alameda Trail through the park and across Constitution and Webster (gap) will be held on Thursday Oct. 29, 2015 at 5:30pm in the City Council chambers at City Hall.

Attached is the staff report by ARPD Recreation & Parks Director Amy Wooldridge. Also included in the attachment is the design for the Cross Alameda Bike/Walk trail (CAT) through the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park.

Director Wooldridge has recommended using the $2.2 million grant funds to complete the path within the park and look for additional funding for Public Works to complete the "gap" across Constitution and Webster where the CAT meets up with the Ralph Appezzato Parkway trail. Bike Alameda believes completing the "gap" is required by the grant funding and must be completed at the expense of the trail through the park.

If money is removed from the trail through the park, it will be jeopardizing the first part of the development of the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park with a substandard trail plan. It's possible there would not be enough money to complete the path inside the park. Also, delays in making the decisions could postpone the decision long enough that the grant milestones will not be met and the $2.2 million grant could be in default and lost.

If the grant funding is removed from the park bike/walk path, it is unlikely that additional funding could be found to complete the park bike/walk path as we have envisioned and how it has been designed. Public Works is responsible for the work on the "gap" and not ARPD. Obtaining Public Works transportation funding for completing the "gap" is more likely than obtaining additional grants for the park trail.

Attachment - map ARPD_BikeTrail_SpecialMeeting_Oct29_2015.pdf

October 28, 2015 - Crown Memorial State Beach to Expand

Land that had been slated for luxury home development will instead become parkland for everyone to use.

Alameda Patch is reporting today that the East Bay Regional Park District is purchasing a 3-acre parcel on McKay Ave in Alameda which will lead to the expansion of Crown Memorial State Beach. The United States sued the State of California and the Park District in an eminent domain action in 2014 to acquire McKay Avenue in an attempt to complete its sale of Neptune Point to a private developer. The State Attorney General’s office, working with EBRPD attorneys and the California State Parks, fought back - and prevailed. Read the article here:

January 27, 2015 - Jean Sweeney Park Receives $2 Million

Alameda Recreation and Parks

The recently approved agreement with Tim Lewis Communities for the development of the Del Monte building stipulates a $2 million payment for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. Jean Sweeny Park is a 22-acre, passive use park located in the west/central part of the island. The park will serve the new Del Monte residents plus the local neighborhood and larger community. It also reduces the impact of the new housing on existing parks.

"We are now at a notable crossroads for this project as the conceptual plan, developed by the community, starts to become a reality," said Recreation and Park Director Amy Wooldridge. "This is an exciting moment in time for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park."

This money provides the critical spark to move the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park forward by providing design and construction funding. As importantly, it will act as the required local matching fund for the City to seek new grants. The total anticipated cost of the park is $8-$10 million and will be funded solely through grants, donations, and developer fees.

The Del Monte Project funds will be used to develop the most eastern portion of the park at Atlantic Avenue and Sherman Street. An initial $300,000 will be used to complete the detailed design of the entire park. The park's Master Plan includes nature-based playgrounds; an open lawn area adjacent to a gazebo and covered picnic pavilion; walking and pedestrian trails throughout; and a community garden, urban orchard and demonstration gardens for Bay-Friendly landscape. The center portion of the property will be predominantly open space habitat with meandering pedestrian-only hiking trails.

A state transportation grant was recently received in the amount of $2.23 million for construction of the Cross Alameda Trail through Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. The City is able to leverage each funding piece to build upon for the next funding opportunity.

October 7, 2014 News - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: City Wins $2.2M for Jean Sweeney Park

The City of Alameda has won a $2,231,000 grant to construct a portion of the Cross Alameda Trail that runs through Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. The funding is from the Regional Active Transportation Program through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which received 127 applications and funded 11 projects.

“This grant really helps Alameda to achieve Jean Sweeney’s and the community’s vision for this open space park,” said Mayor Marie Gilmore.

“There is a remarkable momentum behind the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park,” said Recreation and Park Director Amy Wooldridge. “Many residents have invested a significant amount of energy and time which is critical to the success of this new park.”

The City will begin design early next year for this section of the Cross Alameda Trail. It will be a multi-use recreational trail that proposes 16 feet of asphalt for bicyclists and walkers plus 5 feet of decomposed granite for joggers. The project includes a trail gap closure to safely connect users from Jean Sweeney Open Space Park to the Cross Alameda Trail along Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway, which is already funded. The grant also includes funding for bicycle safety classes for teens, adults, families, and students in the four adjacent schools.

The trail runs through Jean Sweeney Open Space Park, which is a 22-acre, passive use park located in the west/central part of the island. The trail will improve bicycling and walking access for lower income neighborhoods; existing high-density residential; and new housing and commercial developments at Alameda Point and the Northern Waterfront. This section of the Cross Alameda Trail connects to several major public transportation hubs in Alameda, including the regional ferry, bus system and shuttles.

The Cross Alameda Trail is part of the Jean Sweeney Park project as a whole, which is focused on trails and open space. The park will have a wide variety of proposed walking and biking trails, including natural, pedestrian-only trails and a bike skills trail with recreational components. The park also includes nature-based playgrounds; an open lawn area adjacent to a gazebo and covered picnic pavilion; and a community garden, urban orchard and demonstration gardens for Bay-Friendly landscape. The center portion of the property will be predominantly open space habitat with pedestrian-only hiking trails meandering throughout.

Amy Wooldridge
Alameda Recreation and Parks Director
2226 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda 94501
(510) 747-7570

November 6, 2013: Public comment DUE by November 14, 2013 City Park & Rec Meeting on Draft Concept for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park

Reference Agenda Item: Item 5-5 Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Conceptual Design — The Draft Master Plan is available at and public comments may be emailed to

September 30, 2013: Press Release issued by Amy Wooldridge, Alameda Recreation and Park Director

City Receives First Grant for Jean Sweeney Open Space Park and Major Funding for Cross Alameda Trail

The City of Alameda has received its first grant for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. The grant will provide a plan for environmental investigation, which is the first step in making the open space available for public use. Another grant received will fund 0.4 miles of jogging and connector paths, way-finding signs, trees, and a bio swale for a section of the Belt Line’s Cross Alameda Trail.

The Targeted Site Investigation grant of $60,000 is from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to develop and implement a work plan for environmental investigation at the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. The resulting report will serve as the guide for subsequent environmental efforts budgeted in the City’s Capital Improvement Project fund.

The second grant of $792,608 was awarded by The Alameda County Transportation Commission from Measure B/Vehicle Registration Fee Bike/Pedestrian Funds. The City’s required matching amount of $200,000 comes from Citywide Development Fees for a total award of $992,608. These funds will be used for the design and construction of a section of the Beltline’s Cross Alameda Trail which runs in the abandoned railroad right-of-way along Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway between Poggi and Webster Street.

For more information about the projects, please contact Recreation and Park Director Amy Wooldridge at 510-747-7570 or

August 21, 2013

Alameda Open Space News - After determining that the overall future of the park is to be a passive recreational park and nature preserve, residents have come forward to help with the process. Tom Schweich, a botanist, is one of them. Tom has cataloged the plants that are found on the 22 acres of the park and has produced a report on what he found. The report is titled: An Initial Assessment of the Plants in the Jean Sweeney Open Space Preserve.

You can read the report at This report is an important step in planning for the parks development. The file will take a bit to load so please be patient. Thanks!

January 20, 2013

Alameda Open Space - News for Jean Sweeney Park - January 2013

Alameda Recreation & Parks (ARPD) has created an online anonymous survey regarding development the Beltline: Jean Sweeney Open Space Park".The survey DEADLINE is Friday, February 22, 2013. Click here:

On January 16, 2013 there was a meeting on the history of the Beltline Rail Yard and how it became zoned as a future park. That park, now called Jean Sweeney Park, has not yet been created, but decisions regarding it's future are about to be made. This video presentation is offered in preparation for the Public Input meetings coming up in February 2013. Click here:

More 2013 Beltline News… Residents on the North Side of Alameda, adjacent to the Beltline Rail Yard: the City is going to hold public input meetings almost immediately: Saturday, February 9, 2013 10am to noon at the Officer's Club ( and Wednesday, February 13, 2013 from 7 to 9pm at City Hall to discuss the reaults of the February 9 meeting.

Please attend these meetings! There are all kinds of options under consideration, many of which could have very serious impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods. Some ideas will surprise you given the original intent of Measure E - The Open Space Initiative, which was passed by voters in 2002. Check out this video to hear what is now being considered:

November 25, 2011

Today we mourn the loss of Jean Sweeney, whose dedication and spirit won the day for Alameda Open Space at the Beltline, now formally called Jean Sweeney Open Space Preserve. Her leadership will be sorely missed. Our hearts go out to her family and loved ones for their loss.

The family asks that donations be made in her name to pancreatic cancer research at University of California San Francisco at or to Heifer International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting world hunger through self-reliance at

More: Jean Sweeney, longtime Alameda activist, dies at 72 by Peter Hegarty »

Article: Future park to be called the Jean Sweeney Open Space Preserve
By Peter Hegarty on October 31, 2011
Sweeney, a retired teacher, is a member of the Restoration Advisory Board for the former Naval Air Station Alameda (now Alameda Point) and a former member of the city's Northern Waterfront Committee. But she is perhaps best known for her role in the Belt Line purchase, where her research turned up old documents that helped the city buy the property for less than $1 million. She also spearheaded an initiative that required the land to be used for open space.
Read more »

Article: Alameda officials to name open space after Jean Sweeney
By Peter Hegarty on November 3, 2011
Jean Sweeney spent countless hours campaigning to preserve a stretch of former railroad property in Alameda as a public park when many dismissed her dream as too expensive and facing too many legal hurdles. But Sweeney persisted, trawling through boxes of legal documents until she unearthed the 1924 contract between the city of Alameda and the Alameda Belt Line -- a contract that contained a clause that allowed the city to buy back the property for the original $30,000 price, plus the cost of any investments or improvement the railroad made over the decades. The contract cleared the way for the city to eventually purchase the 40 acres for just under $1 million.

On Tuesday, Sweeney was too ill to personally receive the resolution, which calls for any future open space at the Belt Line to be named the "Jean Sweeney Open Space Preserve." But dozens of her supporters were on hand at City Hall, where the council gave her a standing ovation, despite her absence.
Read more »

Article: The Little Engine That Could
By Susan Galleymore on April 6, 2010
After ten years and several court appearances Union Pacific railroad delivered a grant deed to the city of Alameda, California for the controversial Beltline property. Thanks to tenacity and steadfast vision, residents of this quaint island town can rehabilitate vernal ponds of the Pacific Chorus frog, restore nesting grounds, and enjoy nature in their hard-won community park.
Read more »

• UPDATE 3/26/10: Union Pacific has just delivered a grant deed for the Beltline property to the city in return for the money that has been in escrow since last October. Before the rails can be removed from Clement Street and a few other places, the city must disestablish the railroad and go through a few other hurtles but we are close to taking up the rails. Terry Highsmith said that we are getting a lot more land than we ever thought we were getting and that there are tenants on most of the parcels. Stay tuned.

• UPDATE 7/27/09: Supporters of the Beltline and Estuary Park held a wonderful block party on Sunday, July 26, 2009 at the end of Ninth Street adjoining the main part of the Beltline property.

The weather was bright, the sun warm, and the company warmer as we downed tons of great food that everyone brought. We chatted with folks like Debra Arbuckle, Doug DeHann, Barbara Kerr, and Jean and Jim Sweeney. Jean gave a history of her discovery of the contract between the City and the Railroad that gave the City the right of first refusal when the Railroad decided to sell the property. Jean had to pursue that right in court challenge after court challenge, but the railroad finally gave up after losing again and again. Now the City can purchase the nearly 40 acres of land at the original purchase price plus improvements: $988,000. Since fragments of the land scattered around the city have real estate value, they can likely be sold to pay for the acquisition and improvement making the park a real windfall.


Jean talks about the historyAn initiative that Jean placed on the ballot -- that won -- means the land must be developed as open space. We hope that it becomes a terrific natural park, based on ideas from all of us, and that Estuary Park becomes the active park for sports and civic events on the water (at Oak and Clement, as promised by the City since 1993. See the EPAC website at Jean Sweeney and Dorothy Freeman are working on the first draft of a design for the Beltline park. Please talk with them about your ideas for developing it. See the EPAC website for Dorothy's draft of a design for Estuary Park.

Thanks for coming and celebrating our victory.

• UPDATE 7/23/09: We've won! Lean About the History of the Belt Line in Celebrating Open Space »»

• UPDATE 7/9/09: We've won! The Beltline will become Open Space. We will be celebrating on July 26, 2009 in Alameda near the property! Learn more »»

• UPDATE 6/28/09: The Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the City affirming the trial court judgement. The case is about 98% over pending ABL’s almost certain appeal to the California Supreme Court. It’s very unlikely that the Supreme Court will hear the case especially as it is an unpublished opinion. ABL has 40 days to file its petition. This victory for the people of the City of Alameda would not have been achieved without Jean Sweeney. Jean, and everyone who supported and worked on Measure E, should feel justifiably proud for this contribution to the people of the City now and for generations to come.

• UPDATE 8/28/07: As reported in the Alameda Journal, the development of a Master Plan for the Beltline has been delayed because the legal disposition of the property is still uncertain. However, the City had been prepared to decide the future uses of the Beltline, and a shocking number of development plans were already under consideration. All ideas under consideration involved development of the property—versus preserving it as a natural habitat and/or a passive park. Measure E supporters, who mostly voted for the concept of a passive park and/or nature preserve, should prepare to get very involved in the development process if and when the property is deeded back to the City. Otherwise, under the auspices of the City’s Park and Rec department, an outside consulting firm—MIG (Moore Iacofano Goltsman)—will devote the entire space to development.

Saving nature and wild space can come true!