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On Point: City getting land for sports complex

Submitted by on 1, June 26, 2009 – 5:50 am8 Comments

Got a note over the weekend from a tipster who pointed out that the process for transferring a piece of the former Naval Air Station Alameda to the city is finally headed toward completion – a decade after the city asked for the land.

Richard Bangert forwarded me this notice the Navy published on its Base Realignment and Closure website:

Former NAS Alameda: On May 21, 2009, Department of the Navy assigned approximately 44 acres of land and structures at the former NAS Alameda to the Department of the Interior/National Park Service. The Park Service will subsequently convey the property to the City of Alameda Park and Recreation Department for the ultimate development of a community sports and recreation complex. According to the City’s plan, once developed the local community will be able to enjoy a world-class complex with multi-use playing fields (including soccer, football, baseball and lacrosse), tennis courts, skate park, gymnasium and a BMX/mountain bike skills park.

Turns out the city submitted its application for the land – and this use – on December 1, 1999. “It’s been a long period of cleanup going on there,” said David Siegenthaler, the National Park Service official in charge of the land transfers in the Pacific West region.

Siegenthaler said the city could get the deed for the land, in the northern part of the base (at the eastern end of the runway) in a month or two; Assistant City Manager David Brandt said he hopes to get the land by the end of this year. The city does not have to pay for the land.

“I don’t think it should take long at this point,” he said.

In its application to the National Park Service, the city had to show that its plan reflected a public park and recreational use and that it has the ability to maintain any park it creates. It also had to promise to use the land for recreational or park uses in perpetuity. The plan then went to the Navy for its approval.

Major changes have to be run by the Park Service, but as long as the city can justify the changes (and they’re still park uses), they’re likely to be approved, Siegenthaler said. If the city chose to do something else with the land, it would revert back to the Navy, he said.

8 Comments »

  • David Howard says:

    What's old is new. SunCal's proposed Sports Complex is basically the same as the plan that the City drafted up for a sports complex on this parcel back around the time they made the application to the Navy to transfer the land. That plan is still kicking around the archives and if I understand correctly, relied on federal money to get the sports complex built.

    We could still get the sports complex built based on that old plan, WITHOUT SunCal.

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    Michele:

    Where exactly is this acreage? I agree with open space, bike paths, and recreational area in general, but I have a concern about the kinds and location of faciolities SUNCAl proposed in the Initiative.

    Anyone who plays, who has played or their children and grandchildren play, knows that constant wind lowers the quality of out door arenas. Candlestick park is a prime example. SUNCAL's proposal includes Volleyball, tennis and Softball out door areas. If the City is going to invest in these types of venues in the location along the estuary which creates a solid constant wind draft, they should have wind protection or be indoors. Sand volleyball is about as absurd as it gets in this area. The City needs to research reacreation with actual players of these sports to see what is necessary to mitigate the wind, rather than listen to a "reknowned planner" who has never actually played sports.

    Something as simple as having a group of golfers or other sports players go out to the propsed area at different times of day over a period of seasons should make this perfectly clear. Many people enjoyed events/games at Candelstick but it would have been more of a success with a little thought before construction.

  • Tony Daysog says:

    That's great news!

  • Sarah says:

    Michele — Is this the same parcel that Lauren wrote about last year? http://laurendo.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/north-ho

    If it's the North Housing parcel (~42 acres) then, only 8 acres will be used for parks and the rest is for homeless housing. See http://www.alameda-point.com/pdf/cgh/3-5-08rptmin.pdf

  • Jon Spangler says:

    It is very nice to read about progress–no matter how incremental–being made at Alameda Point. The sports complex proposed by Suncal takes advantage of the existing facilities originally built by the US Navy and used for many years at ANAS. Rehabilitating and reusing those facilities (the gym, etc.) makes maximum use of existing facilities, continues existing uses, and reuses existing buildings and facilities built for recreation.

    The wind is a fact of life almost anywhere at Alameda Point, so putting recreation facilities like volleyball courts there will not necessarily reduce their utility over another ANAS location, which might well be just as breezy. (I have spent many hours cycling around Alameda Point year-round, so I am familiar with the wind's presence there.)

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    Since the wind is a fact of life at NAS, what is the point of putting sports facilities that cannot be played well in an outdoor setting in the wind corriders? Would you spend your own money to build a sand volleyball court in a wind corridor, knowing that there were better places for it? If you have free choice, and since this is all on paper now, we do, why not build those types of sports facilities that will do well in the area, instead of those that won't? Outdoor volleyball and softball/baseball facilities will never rise to serving a regional need if they are in high wind areas.

    Some areas are more sheltered than others, and that is where the sports facilities should be placed, if at all. Or the facilities should be limited to bicycling, walking, open space etc. Or build indoors.

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