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Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Fund
Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Fund Flyer For Community Information
First Flyer for Community Meetings October 30th, 2013
JEAN SWEENEY OPEN SPACE PARK (Beltline): PLANNING BEGINS IN 2013
In 2002, Jean Sweeney collected signatures and got an initiative placed on the ballot so we could vote to protect 23 acres of former Alameda Beltline Railroad property as open space. In her Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition that she filed with the city clerk, Jean described the Beltline Railroad Yard as quiet, pristine, and secluded; a wonderful treasure that must be saved. Jean had a vision of a space where we could enjoy the out-of-doors, with long walks, some community gardens, native California plants and native creatures, among other ideas. That initiative was passed by the people of Alameda and meant that the land could not be used for other purposes.
Jean had spent several years digging through historical documents from the Railroad and the City of Alameda. What she discovered was a gold mine of “stuff,” including a 1924 contract the City had signed with the Railroad that required the Railroad to sell the property back to the City upon request, at the original sales price of $27,000 plus improvements. The total Beltline property was approximately 40 acres. The initiative only included the 23 acres of the railroad switching yard pictured in the letterhead.
Based on the contract that Jean found, the City of Alameda demanded that the land be sold back to the City. In 2000 the Beltline Railroad sued to prevent the sale to the City. It asked for an injunction to prevent the repurchase on grounds that the Railroad had a binding agreement to sell the land to a developer, and that the 1924 contract was not valid. The City, however, prevailed in that suit, and in 2009 was able to buy back the approximately 40 acres for less than a million dollars. What that means to the citizens of Alameda is we now have 23 acres of land designated as open space and ready to be developed into a park for all of us to enjoy, plus the remaining part that the City may use as it sees fit. Jean assisted throughout this process.
We have a chance to make these 23 acres a joy for all of our citizens and visitors to our wonderful island. It’s up to us to say how we would like this park to be developed. The City Council voted to name the park The Jean Sweeney Open Space Preserve. Unfortunately, Jean will not be here to see her dream park come about, but we can create a great legacy for her and build a place she would be proud to bear her name.
We will be publishing information regarding the park development as news becomes available. We invite everyone to become involved. To join the email list send a request to SweeneyOpenSpacePark@gmail.com or contact Jim Sweeney at 510-522-1579 or send a card to him at Jim Sweeney, 212 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda, CA 94501. An audio CD of a forum honoring Jean, created by Joseph Woodard Multimedia, is available by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org . During the forum Jean tells the story, in her own words, of the history behind her research and the final solution to save this wonderful 23 acres as open space for all of the people of Alameda. Our Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ search: Jean Sweeney Open Space Park, Alameda, CA
To receive information from the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department send email to: ARPD@ci.alameda.ca.us
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Published on: January 22, 2014