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A Night to Remember! Park District Remembers Past, Looks Forward with Gala Anniversary Event

The East Bay Regional Park District officially celebrated its 80th Anniversary with a much anticipated and sold-out Gala event at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley on Saturday, September 13.

During the 1930s elegance-themed evening, the Park District recognized the outstanding contributions of some of its partners and stakeholders with a presentation of awards, including the Youth Partner Award, given to the YMCA of the East Bay in conjunction with the Taylor Family Foundation, for their joint efforts in managing Camp Arroyo’s programs for children with special needs since the 1990s.

The Park District also highlighted the hard work done by the Friends of Crown Beach in Alameda in favor of the expansion of Crab Cove, as well as the efforts of Sierra Club in support of the same issue. Both organizations received the Citizen Advocate Award. 

Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy and Save Mount Diablo were awarded the Conservation Partner recognition, for their contributions in the preservation and protection of lands and open space for the benefit of wildlife, the community, and the future generations of park-goers. Both organizations partner individually with the Park District in the acquisition and preservation of thousands of acres of land to protect threatened wildlife and help expand trails within the Regional Parks system.

The Volunteer Service award was presented to Mr. Jerry Kent and the archive volunteer team. Kent, a 41-year Park District veteran and retiree, has been volunteering in the Park District’s archives for 8 years. Together the volunteer group has contributed over 600 hours of work preserving and protecting the history of the Park District, through the development of an organized archive and the assessment of new archive accessions.

The Regional Parks Foundation conferred the Corporate Donor and Health Partner Appreciation Award to Kaiser Permanente, for its partnership with the Park District and the Foundation promoting health and fitness throughout the East Bay. The Safety Advocate Donor Appreciation Award was given to the Committee for Industrial Safety (CIS) formed by Contra Costa County’s four refineries –Chevron, Phillips 66, Shell, and Tesoro- for providing financial and volunteer support to enhance the safety of refinery workers, neighbors, and the environment.

The Foundation also presented its Commitment to the Community Award to the Patterson family, represented by Wilcox Patterson, for the recent donation of a $14.4 million, 296-acre property adjacent to Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.  This generous gift is the single most valuable donation ever received by the East Bay Regional Park District.
Before a delectable dinner, the over 350 guests were given a flash back to the Park District’s past by General Manager Robert Doyle, and a glimpse to the future afterwards with the unveiling of the “Wonderments of the East Bay” book published by Heyday Press.  A live auction followed the silent auction held earlier in the evening, benefiting the Regional Parks Foundation.

During the gala, the Park District bestowed special recognition to Board Directors Ted Radke and Carol Severin, who are retiring from the EBRPD Board of Directors this year.  Additionally, Congressman George Miller (D-CA 11th District) made a surprise appearance to present Ted Radke with a Congressional Proclamation honoring his accomplishments. The event was presided over by Mistress of Ceremony, award-winning television broadcaster Wendy Tokuda.

Generous support for the event was provided by over forty sponsors. Presenting sponsors were Chevron, PG & E, Kaiser Permanente, Blackhawk Nunn, Save Mount Diablo, Tesoro, and Golden Gate Fields.

The event featured music by the Oakland Youth Chorus and the Campbell’s Jazz Soup band. The festivities culminated with dancing. Happy 80th Birthday, East Bay Regional Park District!

The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 114,000+ acres in 65 parks including over 1,200 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.