Launch Due For Facelift

 

On Thursday, March 10, members of the city’s Recreation and Park Department took a tour of five current and upcoming park projects. The tour included the aging Encinal Boat Launch Facility, one of the few places in Alameda that offers resident direct and free access to San Francisco Bay. 

The facility, located at 190 Central Ave., west of Encinal High School, currently has a poorly paved parking lot, unusable restrooms, as well as an inadequate dock float and a deteriorated ramp rendered unusable during extreme low tides. All this will change thanks to a grant from California State Department of Boating and Waterways. 

Funds will go to pay for replacing the existing dock float and adding a smaller dock float for non-motorized watercraft like kayaks. Not only will the city renovate the boat ramp, but it will extend it farther into the water, making it usable at extreme low tide.

Plans are also in the works for repaving the parking lot, removing the medians currently in place and adding parking spaces. The city will not only create ADA-compliant access between the parking lot, restroom and boat ramp, but will add an ADA-compliant boat parking station.

Plans are also in the works to replace the current restroom facility, add a fish cleaning station and create new lighting, signage and vehicle safety features.

The group Waterfront Action favors the site. “This park is relatively undeveloped but appealing because it offers access to a newly opened Bay Trail segment with stunning views of Alameda and San Francisco,” the group states. Waterfront Action also recommends strolling the shoreline from the park to the USS Hornet.

Not only is the boat launch well-utilized by the community, Two community groups call the facility home and use it on a regular basis:  the Alameda Community Sailing Center and O’Kalani Outrigger Canoe Center. 

The Alameda Community Sailing Center offers opportunities to Alamedans to participate in sailing and other environmentally friendly activities on San Francisco Bay through access and education.

O’Kalani provides recreational and competitive paddling experiences and participates in the summer sprint race season and a number of long distance races throughout Northern California. O’Kalani also fields crews which participate in nationally competitive long distance races on the U.S. Canada Mainland and in Hawaii.