Alameda Point

City leaders eager to move forward with plans to revitalize Alameda Point are pinning their hopes on new legislation that could allow them to use future property tax dollars to pay for roads, schools and other new public facilities at the Point and other defunct military bases.

A bill from Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, would allow California base reuse authorities to set up special infrastructure financing districts to rejuvenate shuttered bases. It’s one of a host of bills aimed at restoring locals’ ability to redevelop blighted properties and to use future property tax money to pay for affordable housing following the demise of the state’s redevelopment programs.

Alameda’s city leaders are inching forward with a plan to prepare Alameda Point for development themselves, instead of letting a private developer do it. The City Council agreed Tuesday night to let city staff seek out a professional advisor to help mold their strategy, and to use Point lease revenues to cover its $5 million cost.

The City Council is set tonight to consider a proposed development strategy for Alameda Point, most of which is expected to be in the city’s hands by the end of this year.

City officials want to divide the Point property into three separate areas – two commercial, one residential – that they would prepare for reuse and development, a departure from earlier efforts to get developers to do that work instead. They’re saying the new strategy would offer the city more certainty and control over development at the Point, and could expedite development efforts there.

City and East Bay Regional Park District officials are at odds over a proposed deal that would move a planned veterans’ complex off property that has long served as a nesting area for the endangered California least tern and onto land where city officials had hoped to build a park, trails and a sports complex.

Park district officials are seeking a $1-a-year lease to develop and manage the property, while a city official working on the deal said the city has asked the park district to consider offering some seed money to help get the sports complex off the ground.

October 5, 2011 was to be a watershed moment in the city’s long struggle to revitalize the defunct Naval Air Station Alameda. That night city leaders signed a new deal with the Navy that would put most of the former base into the city’s hands by the end of 2012, free of the $108.5 million price tag the Navy had demanded in prior years.

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