RICHMOND, CALIF. – The City of Richmond was awarded two State Park Program (SPP) Proposition 68 grants totaling $12.7 million to revitalize Boorman Park and expand Harbour-8 Park. SPP funds are designed to create new parks and recreation opportunities in critically underserved communities across California. SPP embraces meaningful engagement with local residents where park designs represent each community’s unique recreation needs and creativity.
The city’s grant applications, which were submitted in partnership with Pogo Park, were selected amongst a pool of 478 proposals from around the state. In total, only 62 proposals were awarded funding from the 254.9 million available in the grant cycle. The average award was $4.1 million. The selected projects in the City of Richmond were:
Boorman Park Revitalization: $4,165,000: The proposal to revitalize Boorman Park includes the development of a multi-use trail with fitness stations, a small skate park, an athletic field, a basketball court, a fitness zone, children’s play areas, and a community gathering area. Major support amenities include a public restroom, two parking lots, park beautification and artwork, a shade structure, park landscaping, wayfinding, and safety features.
“This investment will shape childhoods for generations to come. We are thrilled that Richmond children will have the innovative, fun, and safe places to play outdoors that they deserve. These park grants represent what we can accomplish together when we partner with residents and bring multiple organizations together to transform neighborhoods”, said Rhea Elina Laughlin with First 5 Contra Costa.
Boorman Park is located in a community consisting of single-family homes and is bordered by railroad tracks, residences, and manufacturing businesses. Based on a comprehensive, community-led citywide park assessment, Boorman Park was selected as the priority park in need of renovation as a result of high poverty rates, the number of children in close proximity to the park, concerns with community safety, and low park assessment ratings.
“Parks are important for our children to grow up healthy. Just because we live in a low-income area, doesn’t mean our children should have less. Our kids and communities deserve quality parks to play in and be active”, said Leydi Maldonado, Chair of the parent advocacy group, West County Regional Group.
Overall, residents agreed that Boorman Park’s current layout deters full park usage and optimal park health. The future vision and design for Boorman Park was developed through a series of community workshops attended by residents and city staff, along with several community partners including First 5 Contra Costa, West County Regional Group (WCRG), and Healthy and Active Before 5.
"Boorman Park is the community’s baby. This project reflects over a year of in depth community planning to represent what we really want and need in a park. Just planning the park has brought the community together. This grant gives us inspiration to keep being active in the community. We are so proud of this effort. A brand new park will mean that the community has finally been heard and our kids will benefit for years!" said Maria Isabel Barrera, West County Regional Group member and resident of the Boorman Park area.
Harbour-8 Park Expansion: $8,500,000: Harbour-8 Park’s proposal includes the acquisition of .25 acres of land to expand the existing park located along the 2.5 mile-long Richmond Greenway. The expansion will support the development of a new community center, children’s play area, restrooms, entry gateways, zip line area, BBQ/picnic area, surveillance cameras, public art and lighting throughout the park. Grant funding will also support the renovation of the existing bicycle and pedestrian path.
“The formula that Pogo Park has implemented has struck gold - the essence is that the parks are designed and then built by neighborhood residents who then take ownership of the parks once they are constructed which protects them from vandalism and the like,” said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt. “Our pioneering partnership with Pogo Park is the result of ‘out of the box thinking’ that has really gotten the State of California excited and become a state-wide model for park planning and construction.”
“This Greenway expansion will be a tremendous enhancement in the heart of Richmond,” said Sedrick Mitchell, Deputy Director of Community Engagement Division, California State Parks. “These grants made possible by Proposition 68 help make parks accessible for all Californians. It’s inspirational to see the community’s vision become a reality.”
Pogo Park’s “Harbour-8 Park Expansion Project” is only one of nine projects that received the maximum available funding. Pogo Park is now three-for-three with the Statewide Park Program, securing it’s third successful grant application for the City of Richmond. The list of successful SPP grant applications includes Elm Playlot ($1.94 million), Unity Park ($5 million), and Harbour-8 Expansion Project ($8.5 million).
The Pogo Park/City of Richmond partnership secured $16.17 million in capital funds over the past decade for Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood to improve the conditions of city parks. The ultimate goal is to revitalize Iron Triangle parks so they become vibrant spaces for children and families living in a neighborhood where innovative outdoor spaces have been proven to make significant improvements to public health and quality of life.