Update on Fitzgerald and Union Plaza Parks
I hope everyone is enjoying the rain...I know our plants are loving it! Now that we have a blog, I'll be using it to update folks on our many projects. As you may or may not know, we've been partnering with the City of Oakland Department of Parks and Recreation to construct a new community market farm at Fitzgerald and Union Plaza parks. If this is new to you, I invite you to read the history of this project to get a little more information. One of the goals of this partnership is to establish a model that the City can use to work with other organizations and community groups. This has been a long process and has had many hiccups and setbacks along the way. These setbacks are largely due to this being a construction project (naturally a longer process with the City) and the City needing to establish a multi-department process that is streamlined and can properly function with an outside organization. This has been a lot to ask for while layoffs at the City have been happening and furlough days are being enforced. What’s the lesson here: patience and perseverance!
I recently had a meeting with all the City of Oakland players for this project, and we’ve come up with a new plan to get this project done! The money that sits with the City of Oakland Department of Parks and Recreation for this project cannot be used to pay City Slicker Farms staff. In addition, we just received a grant today from the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council for this project (yay!!)…and it, also, cannot be used to pay staff to do the work. Because of this, we are using the grant funds for materials and to hire a landscaping company to get this work done. In August, it was decided that the City of Oakland would be hiring and paying for the landscaping company and City Slicker Farms would manage their work. When all of the City of Oakland folks recently met with me, they determined that it would not be feasible for the hiring to go through them. So here it is…the new plan! City Slicker Farms will be hiring and paying for the landscaping company and the City of Oakland will be paying for materials. Because of the holidays, we’ll be hiring the landscaping company when we get back from break so they can start the process immediately. Both City Slicker Farms and the City of Oakland Department of Parks and Recreation hope that our long and laborious process will only help streamline things for other community groups that want to partner with the City to grow food in parks.
Thanks to everyone for their patience and helping see this project through!