New Bench on Park Street Honors Tam

Eric J. Kos Local officials and members of the public gathered on Park Street last Saturday to dedicate a new public bench honoring former Alameda Unified School District board president and commissioner on disability issues, Nielsen Tam.

Disability commissioner, school board pres. remembered 

The 1300 block of Park Street features a new public bench styled to make rising from it easier for seniors and people with disabilities. The bench was dedicated with a plaque honoring longtime community member Nielsen Tam. 

Tam served on the Alameda Unified School District board from 2008 until his death and as its president from 2013. He also sat on the city’s Commission for Disability Issues. He passed in May 2015. 

Fellow commissioners, Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilwoman Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft spoke in memory of Tam. Commissioner Elizabeth Kenny said the new plaque in his honor “belongs here, at the heart of our community.” 

Tam’s community service included stints on the boards of the Alameda Food Bank, Girls Inc. of the Island City, the Alameda Point Collaborative, the Alameda Multicultural Center and the Boys & Girls Club of Alameda. He was also active in the Buena Vista United Methodist Church and the Alameda Soccer Club. 

Tam’s wife, Judy joked at Saturday’s dedication that he had contributed to so many local charities he had to hide some of them from her. 

The bench located outside 1323 Park St. features extra tall legs allowing easier access for those with limited mobility. 

To communicate with the city’s Commission on Disability Issues, write to disabilitycomm@alameda ca.gov, or call Kerry Parker, City Staff Liaison, at 747-7930.