Keep 2.8 acres with Jean Sweeney Open Space

Editor: In 1998 I moved to the northern waterfront neighborhood here in Alameda. I quickly discovered the old railroad property. My dog and I spent many hours exploring it. It was especially fun picking blackberries in the fall. Other people had discovered it too, including Jean Sweeney, as anyone who knows the story, she saved the area from development. Now I understand that the 2.8-acre section on the south side that is fenced off could be sold for development after all. That area is the only acreage that remains original. Mature trees, rotting logs, paths and yes, berry bushes. Jean Sweeney described the 27 acres in 1998 as a natural meditative space within the city, she noted seasonal freshwater ponds supporting the Pacific Chorus Frog, jackrabbits, red and blue bellied lizards, many species of birds, hawks, owls, egrets, dragonflies, and butterflies. Most of the 27 acres was bulldozed to make way for the new park. The habitat that was destroyed during construction hasn’t made a comeback from what I’ve seen. Now you would be hard pressed to find any wildlife, except maybe in the 2.8 acre fenced off area. The new park also suffers from light and noise pollution. Just walk through the playground section after dark, the businesses on the north side light up the park and loud motors run all night, making it undesirable for insects and birds.

Let’s save this precious land and add it to the existing park. Then we need to plant more trees. Let’s provide a place for nature to thrive and restore that meditative space that Jean Sweeney loved so much.

We also need to question Mayor Ashcraft and the City Council as to why they have acted in closed sessions without the public’s input!

— Leslie Carter