Reminder: Parks Commission meeting tonight (Wednesday) 7 pm, Zoom link here. Speak out! Raise your hand and wait for your minute. Or use the Chat shortcut. Click on Chat, type your message — BMASP NO! will do — and log out. Your statement will be recorded and counted.
Letter from Sandra Blair
HelloI am a long time west Berkeley resident and home owner. I love Caesar Chavez park for its quiet beauty, birds, ground squirrels and people watching of all the various folks who go there. And let’s not forget the dog owners and walkers who have off leash spaces to let their dogs play there. During the quarantine, I brought my then 2-year-old granddaughter to the park at least twice a week to see the dogs and wildlife.
Commercial development would ruin this lovely, quiet outdoor space that is enjoyed by so many people. We do not need another concert space or other adult adventure park facilities. Children still enjoy Adventure Playground and the sandy shoreline plus the conventional children’s playground. Please don’t ruin Berkeley’s beautiful, peaceful shoreline park. Thank you,
Berkeley, CA 9702
Letter from Émilie Keas
A developers’ consulting firm wants to turn Cesar Chavez Park in the Berkeley Marina into a money-making enterprise, completely destroying the natural environment and making it uninhabitable for all the hundreds of bird species and other wildlife that the place is essential for. The park is currently a free place for people to go to unwind, enjoy nature, get away from urban hustle and bustle, and to walk, ride bikes, fly kites, walk dogs, have picnics, take photos, go on bird walks, see gorgeous bayscapes and sunsets, etc. All ages, many nationalities, disabled people (there is a paved, inclined path leading up to the perimeter walkway), students, professionals, retirees, individuals, small groups and entire families have enjoyed the park for decades. Many people have memorialized their loved ones with benches, a peace corner and a solar calendar which make the park extra special. There is a mysterious artist who, having been inspired by Frida Kahlo, leaves permanent tiny art projects in several spots on the west side of the park. There are several examples of balanced-rock art present in the park, also. All of this is free for each and everyone who comes to the park to enjoy. And if someone can’t visit the park physically, they can visit the Chavez Park Conservancy’s website, chavezpark.org, to enjoy stunning photography and cinematography of the environment and the wildlife that inhabits it. An extra treat at the website is an interactive bird chart created by Minnesota Artist Bill Reynolds featuring a number of the park’s birds. Click on the individual birds and you can hear their birdsong: https://chavezpark.org/a-painters-park/
Will all of this still be available for all to enjoy if the development project is approved? No! The proposed development would destroy all that.
All our work in the Chávez Park Conservancy (of which I’m a member of the board of directors) is volunteer. Many school volunteer groups, including several from UC Berkeley, have worked with Conservancy members to plant and care for native plants, to establish a butterfly garden and to help with other projects. From time to time, the Berkeley Fire Department uses a section of the park to train new fire fighters.
I am helping circulate a petition to our Councilperson, Rashi Kesarwani. Rashi has, so far, been indecisive about the issue. And the park is in her district! Anyone who lives in District #1 can sign this petition.
Several other groups have joined us, including the local Sierra Club chapter, the Citizens for Eastshore State Parks, the California Wildlife Foundation, and a group called “Save CC.” Dozens of people have written letters in support of saving the park, as is. Even a former Mayor, Shirley Dean (who is currently the Board President of Citizens for East Shore Parks), has joined the opposition to the development. You can learn more about the issue at the Chávez Park Conservancy website.
You may have learned about this awful development plan from an op-ed that appeared in berkeleyside.com on April 29. There is much additional information now available on chavezpark.org. The movement to save Chavez Park counts many hundreds of supporters.
If you live in District One, we hope that you will join us with at least your signature on our petition to get Councilperson Rashi Kesarwani to stop delaying and join the opposition to the development plan. Her hesitance to denounce and disapprove of the development plan is not acceptable.
Émilie Keas, District 1
Letter from Mary Law
Dear City Councilmembers,
Please stop the BMASP park-wrecking scheme! I’m a regular user of Cesar Chavez Park and have been for several years; it’s been one of my life-savers during Covid, for the abundance of wildlife there, and the relative quiet. The plans involved in the BMASP would destroy much habitat and the whole CA native plants section without bringing nearly the income the report touts.