Despite community outreach from the city, only a small group of neighbors from the Fleming/Alum Rock area turned out for a final neighborhood meeting to plan a new city park for the area. The meeting on September 17th, was also attended by two city employees from the parks department, Evelyn Velez-Rosario and Jason Condit, as well as City Councilmember Nora Campos and her staff member Ryan Ford. Condit, who is a park designer, unveiled three plans for the half-acre site between Alum Rock Avenue and Fleming Court (former site of the Korean Baptist Church).
All three of the plans incorporated elements previously requested by neighbors at a meeting last spring such as a small childrens play area, par course, covered seating and grassy open space. The designs also include existing assets such as the mature pine, oak and fruit trees on the property.
Click on the photos above to get a closer look at the plans.
After some discussion, neighbors voted to accept the Concept Plan 1 design, which will be modified to include a longer trellis type structure instead of a gazebo, as well as a low decorative fence around the park's Fleming and Waterstone Court perimeters.
Not all neighbors in attendance approved of the plans. One gentleman who stated his family has lived on Fleming for 70 years said he "couldn't believe" the city was putting a park on Fleming Avenue. He called it the worst thing he's ever heard of. The neighbor had not been involved in the process before.
The park plan was developed as a compromise effort to reduce density, ease traffic and create open space in conjunction with a Braddock and Logan housing development next to the park. In late 2005, developers announced plans to build 21 homes on the former church site. Shortly thereafter, neighbors banded together and spoke out at a series of planning and council meetings throughout 2006 to get number of homes reduced. Eventually, the city council approved a plan to build 14 homes on the site, with some of the remaining land to be used for a small public park.
Unfortunately, city officials stated that the park will not be completed until sometime in 2009, although construction on the homes is well underway.