Letter to City Council and related parties from Susan Black, June 28 2022:
Today on my usual morning walk around the Marina, at Cesar Chavez Park, I felt so much gratitude for this space that has provided me with both joy and respite for over forty years.
I walk the Marina nearly every early morning. This morning I was thrilled to see hundreds and hundreds of pelicans, many egrets, avocets and our resident great blue heron. Everyone stopped to enjoy the spectacle of hundreds of pelicans feeding. People talked to strangers about the feelings of awe and wonderment. For a short time it felt like all was right is this very deeply troubled world
Chavez Park is my morning meditation. It is quiet, safe and very accessible. I was part of building this park when I worked as a professional gardener. I have added yards upon yards of garden debris to what we now walk on and call our gem of a waterfront park.
I was married on the Berkeley Pier. When my son, David, became ill with AIDS we walked the Marina whenever he was able. It was nature he could get to and enjoy with his increasing limited mobility. It was calming and there were so many wonderful views. Now there is a memorial bench facing the Golden Gate Bridge in his memory.
In my later years I became a photographer. The Marina and Chavez Park are among my favorite places to capture beauty both early in the morning and late in the day. The shore birds are amazing as are the hares and even the gophers and ground squirrels.
In the increasingly urban environment we find ourselves in, this park in Berkeley is a rare and vital gem. It works for all folks whatever their level of mobility. It is a wonderful teaching platform for children and adults alike. Then there are the views…the best for miles and miles.
I am totally appalled at the proposed BMASP. It will turn our beloved oasis into a theme park only to be used by those with means. It will uproot years of careful planting of native wild flowers, scare away the birds and other wild life and our wonderful gem will be lost. Monetizing the Marina is an act of betrayal to those of us who love this park. It is a betrayal to anyone paying taxes in Berkeley. It is a betrayal of nature and a travesty.
The firm who has come up with these suggestions is totally out of touch with the users of this space. The process has not been at all transparent. Why would anyone want to destroy a space that is beloved and used by so many. I really hate to think this is all about money but there is no other conclusion.
I plead with all of you. Save our beloved Marina from this poorly designed plan that will do nothing for those of us who love this park but bring us to heartbreak.
Susan M Black
2016 10th St