Jean Sweeney Park

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The Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Fund and Alameda Recreation & Parks Department, with community support, are working to create a Monarch Butterfly Garden in the East end of the Jean Sweeney park.Sherman Street no longer travels right beside the historical railroad admin building at Jean Sweeney Park. The intersection was changed as part of the Del Monte development. When Clement Street is completed north of the Del Monte building the changes will connect the park section of the Cross Alameda Pike Trail with the next section of bike trail to the East.

Salvaged logs for the play area from the City – approximately 200 LF of salvaged logs were used as seatwalls and retaining curbs, and 70 LF as a natural play structure
Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Phase A is the second phase of development for a unique 27-acre community park in the heart of Alameda. Phase A includes park amenities such as community gathering areas, a large nature playground, a restroom, and a picnic pavilion overlooking a low-water use lawn area, as well as new landscape planting, including a diverse variety of shrubs, grasses, and trees. The first phase of the project development was also ReScape rated and included the construction of a 0.65 mile class I bike and pedestrian trail called the Cross Alameda Trail through Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. Both projects opened to the public in 2018.

Jean Sweeney is a newer and not all the way complete open space park. The history of this park is inspiring. It was once a Railroad property about to become a housing development, but by the efforts of a local resident, Jean Sweeney, it became the beautiful park it is today. The maps said there will be a butterfly garden and a second playground but they don’t exist … yet!

The play area has a giant hillside slide that can fit many kids at a time, a zip line, a big sandbox (don’t forget your sand toys), a log path for balancing practice (or floor is lava… whichever your adventurer prefers), a large mallet instrument, an even bigger rope climbing structure, and a hammock swing. There is also an almost gated-in-play structure that has three slides, ladders, steps, and a snacking table. In this area, there are bucket swings (no standard swings at this park). This playground is geared more towards tots/preschoolers.
Right near this play area are a bathroom and a huge gazebo. Around the open space is a bike path (perfect for practicing bike skills) that doubles as a stroller or scooter path, grassy areas (perfect for picnics), and a future home for a butterfly garden and second playground.

Sweeney also helped spearhead the effort to zone the land as open space, which voters approved in 2002, setting the stage for the creation of the park.

The park, created on former railroad property, features grassy fields and children’s play spots. It totals about 25 acres, not including the future trails, which will link up with the San Francisco Bay Trail. It’s bordered by Constitution Way, Atlantic Avenue and Sherman Street.

The contract contained a clause that allowed the city to buy back the property at any time for the original $30,000 price, plus any additional money the railroad had spent on improvements. As a result, the city secured the property for less than $1 million in October 2012.
But that’s apparently no longer the plan, and a representative of the Alameda Recreation and Park Department was not immediately available for comment.

“The community has championed the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park and it is inappropriate for any changes to the approved plan to take place without public input, including potentially reducing the land area of the park,” Spencer and Daysog said in a statement.
“All we can assume is that the city has decided for some reason that the property is no longer available,” Freeman said about the Union Pacific parcel.The park is named after Jean Sweeney, who died in November 2011. She’s the one who came up with the idea that the old switching yard should be a park when she walked on the site in 1998 with her husband and found it overgrown with shrubs and weeds.

“I am joining my colleague, Councilmember Trish Herrera Spencer, in making sure we circle back to the community for their input,” Daysog told this news organization in an email Friday. “Maybe the community doesn’t want to reduce the size of Sweeney park? We must let the community weigh-in on this important discussion.”
But Alameda officials have indicated that the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park won’t be quite as large as originally envisioned when it opened in December 2018, prompting some puzzled and miffed park supporters to ask why not.Park amenities include a gazebo-like shelter that was once a waiting station for the railroad and a bicycle loop designed to help young cyclists hone their skills.The park also includes a portion of the Cross Alameda Trail, a four-mile walking and cycling path still getting built. When the trail is finished, it will link the former Alameda Naval Air Station in the city’s western side to near the Fruitvale Bridge, which connects with Oakland in the east. Her determination to turn it into a spot that people could enjoy led her to trawl through dusty legal records and documents in Sacramento and other places. ALAMEDA — It’s the city’s newest and largest park, and when completed will have trails converted from old railroad lines that stretch from one end of the Island to the other.

She eventually unearthed the 1924 purchase contract for the property between the city of Alameda and the Western Pacific and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway companies, which created the Alameda Beltline railroad that used the site.
Dorothy Freeman, a longtime advocate for the $10 million park, said Friday she was surprised to learn about the possible change in the plans as she watched an online meeting about open space in the city.The city initially planned to acquire an additional 2.45 acres of former property from the Union Pacific Railroad in September 2018 through eminent domain, for roughly $1 million.

So when city staff unveiled a new map of Sweeney park, showing significant areas of the original design carved out without the council’s say-so, Spencer and Councilman Tony Daysog decided to put the matter on Tuesday’s agenda.

“The public is being blindsided,” Councilwoman Trish Herrera Spencer said Friday. “My job is to figure out what’s going on and to share it with the public.”The Jean Sweeney Open Space Fund is a non-profit organization that provides funding assistance to the Alameda Recreation and Park Department for the park. More information and history of the park development can be found on their website:

For the first phase of the park, we supplied site amenities that included our precast concrete timber picnic tables and benches, dual containment trash/recycle receptacles, barbecues and a precast concrete sign with posts. The concrete timber picnic tables and benches included reliefs to accommodate future plaques for donors and contributors. This was the first project that featured our new precast concrete timber bench with armrests. The park was also the first to include our timber table with wheelchair companion seating.
The city will learn whether it received the grant later this summer and if received, will then do a more detailed design update. The public will have more opportunities to provide feedback when this detailed design is brought to the Recreation and Parks Commission and City Council for final approval.Jean Sweeney Open Space Park (Sweeney Park) is a 25-acre community park located in the central west area of the community. The park site is the former Alameda Beltline Railroad property that was secured by the City, with significant advocacy by long-time resident Jean Sweeney. It is the City of Alameda’s (City) largest park and after opening two of four phases in 2018. The City applied for the Statewide Park Program grant to update, design, and construct the most western phase of the park called the Urban Agriculture Phase which, most notably, would include:

In February 2021, city staff held a community input meeting and the public also had the opportunity to provide input through an online survey. Click here(PDF, 553KB) for the survey results.

The western phase of Sweeney Park includes the community garden, a second playground, demonstration gardens to model drought tolerant landscapes, a tool and seed lending library in collaboration with the Alameda Free Library, an outdoor classroom, a second parking lot, restroom and small picnic areas. The community garden is planned to serve Alameda residents, as well as address food insecurity in the community, through collaborations with the Alameda Food Bank, local faith organizations, and Alameda Backyard Growers. A portion of the garden plots will be provided at no cost to Alameda Food Bank constituents, with gardening workshops and guidance provided by Alameda Backyard Growers. Larger plots will be available to faith organizations who grow food to distribute to those who are in need.
If you have a little kid who wants to practice their scooting skills or learn to ride a bike, the long straight flat bike path is ideal. There can be commuter cyclists at times, but in general the path is pretty wide open. There are also wide open grassy spaces ideal for flying a kite on windy days, which in Alameda can be frequent.

Jean Sweeney Open Space Park in Alameda is a newer playground with tons of terrific features that’ll keep kids of all ages entertained for hours. From the super wide fast slide, large sand play space with water feature, long flat bike path for scooting with ease, and yes, a zipline (!) there’s something for everyone. So pack snacks, sand toys and your wheels of choice and enjoy a truly lovely day at the park.
This is a must-see park. If it’s a bit of a drive for you, pack a lunch and make a day of it. Little kids will love the big slide, climbing opportunities, water and sand combo, and swings. Big kids will wait in line over and over and over again for their turn on the speedy zipline. Both big and little kids will relish the opportunity to zoom on their bikes and scooters on the luxuriously long and flat bike path. And importantly, adults will appreciate the easy parking, clean facilities and stunning views of San Francisco on a clear day. Oh, and there’s a Target just a few minutes away! What’s not to love?Toddlers will love the pint sized natural vibe of the tot lot, equipped with four bucket swings and plenty of opportunities for climbing and sliding. There’s even a cute little table and two mushroom stools where little kids can sit and have a (pretend) tea party. Pinkies up!Packed with drop-in classes, free storytimes, and seasonal festivals, our events calendar will help you plan your weekend — and your summer vacation. Daily articles and a weekend planner help you find what’s fun and free when you need it.The zipline is a draw for little kids, but you’ll probably have to hold onto those under 4 years old because the kick-back at the end can be rough. The nature features around the park are also enticing to little kids who like to balance on logs and jump from stump to stump.

The sand area is another toddler favorite, with a large rock water feature set in the middle (FYI it’s not always “on”, depending on time of year and drought rules). Make sure to bring sand toys since there aren’t often freebies laying around. Pro-Tip: Bring a change of clothes and a towel if the sand water feature is the main draw for your little one.
The upper play area at the top of the slide has a cool climbing area that’s best for older kids, but toddlers will want to give it a try. They often get stuck though and will want help down, which can prove challenging for adults to maneuver. There’s also a super big and loud chime instrument in the upper play area that toddlers adore.Contact: Amy Wooldridge Recreation and Park Director (510) 747-7570 [email protected] “We are now at a notable crossroads for this project as the conceptual plan, developed by the community, starts to become a reality,” said Recreation and Park Director Amy Wooldridge. “This is an exciting moment in time for the Jean […] Tuesday, July 11, 2016 (6:30 – 7:30 PM) Rhythmix Cultural Works, 2513 Blanding Ave, Alameda with Amy Wooldridge, Director, Recreation and Parks Department, City of Alameda Join us as we continue to celebrate the 4th of July and our parade participation! Bring something to eat or drink to share, or just bring yourself. […] If you liked the class Joan taught for us on Zoom, you will love her ergonomics class in person. It’s free this Saturday at the Gardens at Lake Merritt. And while you are there, take a picnic and eat in some beautiful gardens! … See MoreSee – by Laura Casey, Correspondent Here’s a link to the original article. About 300 people showed up to the first cleanup effort at the Jean Sweeney Open Space Preserve Saturday, lending hands to spread mulch, remove prickly weeds, build demonstration planter boxes and paint whimsical murals in a part […]
After the unveiling of the nearly 40-foot-tall steel art sculpture, Beken, at the Seaplane Lagoon Park at Alameda Point (“A Beacon of Art Rises at Seaplane Lagoon Park,” Aug. 10), more art pieces have been raised around the city.
Public tours of the City of Alameda’s newest park, the 21st in the Alameda Recreation and Park Department (ARPD), Jean Sweeney Park, will take place this Saturday and next Thursday.

The City of Alameda has unveiled its Homeless Action Plan to help accommodate the homeless encampment population at Jean Sweeney Open Space Park during its planned construction.
On March 1, the city celebrated the opening of the Cross Alameda Trail between Main Street and Constitution Way. This new addition to the trail connects Jean Sweeney Park with Atlantic Avenue and Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway (RAMP).The Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Fund is managing the Jean Sweeney Park bench donation project for the Alameda Recreation & Parks Department. Two bench styles are available to choose from. Donors can add a commemorative plaque to donated benches. In the space provided (approximately 200 words) provide a summary description of the open space. ULI will use this description for publication. Please avoid predictions (“will be a gathering place for years to come”) and stick to factual information. This might touch very briefly on the following, which you will have a chance to describe later in more detail: Jean Sweeney Open Space Park in a unique 25-acre community park in the heart of Alameda, CA. The design firm supported the City in developing a schematic design with extensive input from residents, and then preparing design development and construction documents for the first phase. The park was named for Jean Sweeney, a local open space advocate and active member of the community whose efforts resulted in zoning the area as Open Space. A former railyard, the park brings opportunities for visitors of all ages and abilities to engage in active and passive activities, while retaining elements that allude to the site’s industrial past. The first two completed construction phases include the Class I bike path, Cross-Alameda Trail, a large nature playground, great lawn, picnic pavilion, parking lot and stormwater treatment planting. When the final two phases are completed, the park will be more than just a recreational asset, providing community gardens and outdoor education programs.Please list other awards and recognition this open space has received. If the project has received an award from ULI at the local, national, regional, or global level, you must note that here.As one walked out into the center of the pa
rk, which is not visible from the street, the sound of traffic faded away, replaced by the chirping of birds — an unexpected quiet in the middle of an urban area and a rare commodity open-space advocates worked hard to preserve.