There's an interesting but not reported on item -- ignored by the Oakland Tribune -- coming up on the Oakland City Council agenda, and it's called the "East Oakland Sports Complex Development." The resolution "on the table" will transfer $2 million from the Oakland Redevelopment Agency to the City of Oakland to fund the construction of this proposed project.
There's nothing that's online about it that's immediately obvious to the lay person. which is terrible. But that written, and before I discuss the ELS website information, this is a project I know about and that Councilmember Larry Reid has spent years -- years -- trying to get moving. It started in 1996 with an idea Councilmember Reid had with then-Otis Spunkmier founder and CEO Ken Rawlings.
Both wanted to change the fact that while East Oakland had a population of familes with kids and teenagers, there was very little for them to do, if anything. To the end of changing that state of affairs, Reid spear-headed a giant plan to build ball fields at what is now the Zhone Technologies building site.
The political agreements and money needed to make that happened never appeared so the first idea died on the vine. But Reid never gave up. Now, he has assembled a plan such that the City of Oakland's in partnership with ELS, an architecture and urban design firm based in Berkeley -- which would seem to place the city in the role of developer.
The Sports Center project is embeded within their website but you have to know to look for it, otherwise in an online search it will pass you by. The building will be , if built, a 50,000 square foot complex at Edes Avenue and Jones Street with two swimming pools, a dance center, space for community meetings, a running track, and an aerobic fitness center.
To say that this project is needed is an understatement. It must and should be constructed. If it's approved and it should be, it will open March of 2010.
Another Sunday, and another game against a team struggling to make anything work. The 3-2 New York Jets will be traveling to Oakland to face the 1-4 Raiders. It's always easy for fans to dismiss a team during an unfortunate season...