VIDEO: An old-fashoned park raising

VIDEO: An old-fashoned park raising

Donna Eyestone

Some 300 volunteers turned out Saturday to begin work on the future Jean Sweeney Open Space Park.

About 300 volunteers showed up for an old-fashioned park raising Saturday at the future Jean Sweeney Open Space Park, to weed, mulch, paint a mural and build planter boxes and compost bins for a future community garden at the 22-acre park. The event was coordinated by the Alameda Recreation and Park Department and Alameda County Supervisor WIlma Chan's office. The City Council is expected to consider final plans for the park, which sits on the site of the former Alameda Belt Line rail yard, in April; after that, the city will seek out grants and private money to build it. Donna Eyestone stopped by and captured this video of Saturday's event, narrated by the late Jean Sweeney's husband, Jim, and parks director Amy Wooldridge.


Submitted by William (not verified) on Mon, Jan 20, 2014

It was rewarding to observe the amount of people who participated on Saturday. Their interest validated the hard work that has gone in to this project by Jean Sweeney, Jim Sweeney, Dorothy Freeman, Amy Wooldridge (Director of ARPD), Alameda Recreation & Park Commission, and so many others. Saturday was a big step forward. A truly positive step.

Submitted by Ingrid (not verified) on Mon, Jan 20, 2014

I live just a few hundred feet from the park, and all we heard for the last 17 years has been doom and gloom about how it was going to be developed. Houses, streets widened for through traffic, then lawsuits...Jean Sweeney and her crew were often laughed in the face when she was working in the rain to get signatures and support for this park. Now I'm looking at this video of the community making it what it is, I feel like all of you who came to beautify the space beatified my front yard too. I could not be more grateful to all of you. Amy Woolridge is coordinating this process wonderfully. Donna you are the best. Thanks for doing the video and hopefully I can make the next project day with food and my shovel.

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Tue, Jan 21, 2014

Hey BLN - thanks for your note. As I understand it, they won't be growing food in the ground, but in above-ground planter boxes. More here: