Park Department Scores $2M Grant for Sweeney Open Space

The California Department of Parks and Recreation issued a $2 million grant for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF supports development projects involving outdoor recreation.

The grant requires a local match. Developer Tim Lewis Communities had already earmarked $2 million for the park in exchange for concessions from the city.

The park is on the former
Alameda Belt Line Railroad property, which extends from Constitution Way and Atlantic Avenue to Sherman Street.

When the railroad was abandoned, community member Jean Sweeney researched and found the original contract between the city and the railroad. The contract authorized the city to obtain the land at its original price and purchase it for less than $1 million after the land was valued at $20 million. Sweeney helped turn the property into open space by initiating a successful ballot measure.

At no charge to the city, Kristoffer Köster of KKDesign, developed the park’s master plan. More than 1,000 residents took part in the design process. In addition, 313 residents participate in a community work day and more than 200 people from the Latter Day Saints painted and renovated the railroad office building.

The LWCF grant funds Phase 2 — the most eastern portion of the park near Sherman Street. In the master plan, the 22-acre park includes a playground, large picnic area, gazebo and picnic pavilion. It also has a plaza area, bicycle and walking trails and an open landscape area with drought-tolerant native plants.

Amy Chu is in the Girls Inc. Eureka! Program as an Alameda Sun intern. She can be reached at