Krusi Park Stage, Space Celebrates Locals’ Legacy

Krusi Park Stage, Space Celebrates Locals’ Legacy

In August 2015, we lost two generous Alamedans; and now in August 2017, Alameda has shown how it gives back and remembers by creating a beautiful public space at Krusi Park that is open to all.

Two years ago, Rachel Shahinian, 50, and her daughter, Annika Zinsley, 10, were killed by a driver going the wrong direction on State Highway 120. The Krusi Park Stage & Gathering Space behind Otis Elementary School, where Annika attended school, celebrates the inspiration to live generously that is their legacy — offering a space for performance, gatherings and time outdoors. 

Nothing can take away the difficulty of loss, yet the care from the community, (including those who knew them and those who didn’t, but understood the loss nonetheless,) rose up to create this space in their honor. Connection offered in the face of a tragedy can provide some consolation and comfort, reminding us that we are all in these experiences of life and loss together.  

We are grateful to now celebrate the completion of a space that captures a small essence of Rachel and Annika’s generous lives and the spirit of the Alameda community. Our thanks go to all those who made it possible.

With gratitude to Mayor Trish Spencer for suggesting consideration for a site at Krusi Park; to Amy Wooldridge, Alameda Recreation and Department (ARPD) Director, for partnering to build the space, to the Alameda Parks Commission for trusting us to proceed. ARPD’s Bill Hudson, John MacDonald and Pat Russi were also key partners in this effort. 

A huge thank you is due to Alameda Elks Lodge No. 1015, especially Lee Watson, David Hilton and Shirley Bierman, for providing significant funding to get us well on our way. 

The remarkably professional and generous Suarez and Munoz Construction of Hayward built the space based on a design by architect Christine Reilly who worked from the pro bono conceptual design of Landscape Architect Brennan Cox of Groundworks in Berkeley.

Thanks go to the following important funders and supporters, to name a few, as well as many more unnamed donors.

We appreciate the efforts of the Alameda Community Fund, notably Edward Kofman and Dorothy Freeman; the Otis PTA, with special thanks to Beth Aney and the Alameda Education Foundation and our fiscal partner Friends of the Parks, especially Bill Delaney and Joe Restagno.

Delve Withrington, font designer and engraving consultant donated his pro bono services as did Katie Knowles, graphic designer; Victor Amador, Concrete Design Consultant and Otis Elementary staff, especially Dr. Shirley Clem and Terri Cooley.

We thank Jane Schmitz, Judy Jaber, Dahlia Kapelke, Margo Dunlap and JaYing Wang for art support; Bay Area Children’s Theater, especially Rebecca Posamentier and Annie Clark and fundraiser and donor Eduardo Vargas and his 510 Fitness dancers and clients.

Generous private and community donors included Lynne and Richard Zinsley, Shahinian family members and friends, and donors from Otis Elementary School and at the YouCaring site.

We also thank performers: The Saloons and The Jilters, Noel Rabinowitz, Brad Robinson, Paul Kotapish and Stephanie Craig of Studio 505 Dance and Movement Arts.

Sending appreciation to all of you and the many more who supported us each step of the way, to make a permanent space in tribute to two special people. Hope Alamedans will come out and take the stage at Krusi Park to enjoy the new space.

Cindy Miner Kapelke lives in Alameda.