East Bay Regional Park District Celebrates Huge Urban Park Investment in Richmond CA
The East Bay Regional park District will dedicate two important completed projects at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond on Saturday, Apr. 22. The public is invited to join the EBRPD General Manager and Board of Directors to dedicate the Atlas Road Bridge and the Dotson Family Marsh. Together the projects represent the biggest park investment in EBRPD history, totaling $46 million and funded with the support of numerous partners.
"These projects represent a huge investment in this urban area bringing unprecedented shoreline access to a traditionally underserved community," said General manager Robert Doyle. "Never before has the Park District had the opportunity to make such a significant impact to our community in so many ways as these projects do."
The Atlas Road Bridge provides a new main entrance and staging area to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. The bridge serves as both a vehicle and ADA-compliant pedestrian bridge. It also connects to the San Francisco Bay Trail. The completion of the new bridge is part of a multi-phase project that will eventually lead to additional picnic areas, a new playground and the route to a new interpretive center for the park.
“The Atlas Bridge is a significant public works project to provide our visitors safe access through a busy and dangerous railway corridor,” said Robert Doyle.
This $11.7 million project was additionally funded through local bond Measure CC, the City of Richmond and the following grantors:
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Atlas Bridge, the day will continue at the Dotson Family Marsh. The Park District Board approved the renaming of the former Breuner Marsh in honor of the Dotson family’s environmental legacy to save the Richmond shoreline from development. Through the efforts of the Park District and the passion of nearby Parchester Village residents, largely led by the Dotson family, the marsh escaped numerous attempts at commercial, business and residential development. The Reverend Richard Dotson was determined to keep the marsh wild and open, and a beautiful natural place for the local community to enjoy. EBRPD Board Member Whitney Dotson has continued to follow in his father’s footsteps advocating for public access to the Richmond shoreline.
“It’s very important to save areas like this,” said Whitney Dotson. “We’re always thinking about habitat for species of animals, but also we have habitat needs ourselves. This is one of the places we can come and enjoy the openness of the place itself. And that’s very important for our psychological well-being to be able to have places that we can retreat to.”
“The Dotson Marsh restoration is an example of the Park District's adaptation management to sea level rise which will protect the community against the impacts of climate change for decades to come,” added EBRPD General Manager Robert Doyle.
The 150-acre site has undergone an extensive $14 million habitat restoration and public access project funded by more than 10 agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the East Bay Regional Park District through local bond Measures CC and WW.
The newly restored marsh is designed to be a self-sustaining wetland complex that will filter polluted run-off and provide high quality habitat for threatened and endangered species, such as the ridgeway rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse. The project also includes a 1.5-mile elevated extension of the San Francisco Bay Trail, helping to close the remaining 10 miles of Bay Trail gaps within Richmond’s current 32 miles of existing trail, and providing the first safe, non-motorized access to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline. It also includes a 24-space parking lot, restroom and picnic area.
“Our kids really have to have places where they can learn about the environment and how to protect it, and at the same time a place to have fun and explore the species, the vegetation, the water, and recreation… all of those things are very important to our overall well-being,” said EBRPD’s Whitney Dotson. “I’m proud that the East Bay Regional Park District has concluded the community’s – and my family’s – 50-year fight to bring environmental justice and access to the shoreline, Bay Trail and San Pablo Bay.”
The total investment at Point Pinole is over $46 million, including $20.3 million to acquire both Dotson Marsh and Atlas Bridge properties; $14 million for the restoration project, and $11.7 million for the new entrance at Atlas Road Bridge. Together they represent the largest park investment in EBRPD history.
Photos: Brant Ward