It's time to throttle back on the East Bay Regional Park District lawsuit and the city's rhetoric in the media over the federal land near Crab Cove and get to a solution.
Neither serves the public's interest, on the Alameda side, maintaining a certified housing element and on the park district side, protecting and enhancing one of its premier coastal parks, Crab Cove. The park district's lack of funds to secure the land at auction and the city's assertion that the park district did not attend hearings or give input to the City Council's decision in July to rezone the property raise lots of questions.
But behind the questions looms the long-term concern over the gulf in communication between the city and the district. This is a divide that would be disastrous for future parks: the Alameda Beltline, Estuary Park and the parks of the future at Alameda Point.
Neptune Pointe, as the former federal installation land has been dubbed, is already secured by STL Companies LLC, and the stakes for undoing the deal are high, given the value thanks to the new zoning. Even if the park district prevails in court in forcing the city to redo the process, there is no real chance that the land deal between the federal government and STL will be nullified.
If the city's defense against the suit is successful, the zoning will most assuredly remain as-is. Regardless of the outcome the taxpayer is the loser with tax dollars spent on both sides for litigation rather than spending those dollars to maintain parks or city services.
The park district should drop the suit before more money is wasted, and the city should step up and work with the park district on the design features of the development to protect Crab Cove and provide as much public access and use of the shoreline as possible. This planning must be done together, not only for the sake of protecting Crab Cove and reducing the impact of the potential development, but to ensure the success of future parks in Alameda.
Frank Matarrese is a former Alameda City Council member.