Editor's note: This column is the first of four that will review the benefits and value of Alameda parks and recreation and how they serve our community.
Most people do not realize this, but no matter where you are within Alameda city limits, you are only a 10- to 15-minute walk away from a park. The convenient availability of our parks began with the establishment of Alameda's very first park in 1895.
Today, more than 142 acres of land are used for park and recreation facilities in our island town, which includes 19 parks, 17 stand-alone facilities and additional property being developed. Our newest addition is the Beltline property that will add 22 acres. This is unique, given the challenges many communities across our state and county face, but it appears that Alameda is moving in the right direction for supporting the continued park requirements.
In fact, a survey conducted by the nonprofit organization, California Park & Recreation Society, reported that virtually every California household (98 percent) reported visiting a park during the past year. Forty-two percent of households visited a park at least several days a week. It appears that residents of most cities, including Alameda, value parks and recreation as an essential service to the community.
It has been said that the 20th century was focused on buildings, where the 21st century will be focused on the spaces between them. If this is true, every city, including Alameda, will have to establish a formal and solid foundation of management and planning to accommodate this dynamic evolution. It appears that Alameda is in very good shape in the development, maintenance and utilization of our parks. It is not an easy task though. Beyond the Alameda Recreation and Park Department management and staff, our parks have been supported by hundreds of volunteers who help to clean parks through annual community cleanup programs, through organized groups like the Friends of the Parks Foundation, and many others.
Alameda parks offer important benefits to our city. They offer health and wellness (for example, the new outdoor exercise equipment installed at Lincoln Park), social and economic benefits (for example, businesses are more inclined to locate here based on park availability and quality of life benefits for their employees), and organized, structured activities for all ages. Visit the Alameda Recreation and Park website and review the activity guide at cityofalamedaca.gov/Recreation/Programs-Camps-and-Classes. Here are just some of the program and activity examples to choose from:
Note: If you're looking for spring and summer programs, you should consider registering them soon. Programs fill quickly. If you enjoy playing golf and having a good time, mark your calendar for Sept. 25 at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex. Friends of the Parks Foundation will hold its inaugural "Play for the Parks" Golf Tournament on that day. You'll have a good time, and will be supporting a great cause.
For more information on recreation and park programs, visit www.cityofalamedaca.gov or call 510-747-7529. You can also visit the Friends of the Parks website today and consider donating to their foundation. They sponsor and support many programs, and need your donations to continue that effort. www.alamedaparks.org.
Bill Delaney is a board member of The Friends of the Parks Foundation and a member of the Alameda Recreation and Park Commission. If you have any questions or comments, please send Bill a message via email at email@example.com.