The East Bay Regional Park District today announced it will become the owner of an important 3-acre parcel on McKay Ave in Alameda which will lead to the expansion of Crown Memorial State Beach.
The Park District’s purchase resolves an eminent domain action by the United States government against the State of California and the Park District to seize control over portions of McKay Avenue, the main access road to Crab Cove.
The Park District agreed to a purchase price of $2,182,500 for the property which formerly housed the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Board of Directors is expected to formally approve the purchase at its Nov. 3 meeting. In addition, the parties have agreed that ownership of McKay Avenue will return to the State.
“The public’s interest prevailed with this agreement,” said Doug Siden, long-time Park District director representing Alameda. “Much credit goes to the Friends of Crown Beach who worked hard to share the voices of thousands of residents who thought public access to the shoreline was more important than creating a few dozen luxury houses. We are appreciative of their efforts.”
After the USDA offices were consolidated and its employees were relocated, the small parcel of land known as Neptune Point became a hot topic in 2011 when the GSA agreed to sell the property to a private developer who planned to construct 48 homes adjacent to Crown Memorial State Beach.
The United States sued the State of California and the Park District in an eminent domain action in 2014 to acquire McKay Avenue in an attempt to complete its sale of Neptune Point to a private developer. The State Attorney General’s office, working with EBRPD attorneys and the California State Parks, fought back and argued that such action should be reserved for public benefit, not the private benefit of a residential developer. In the alternative, the State and the Park District claimed that if the United States was allowed to take McKay Avenue, the United States would need to pay $1.4 million in compensation.
“The community won with this agreement,” said Robert Doyle, General Manager of the East Bay Regional Park District. “We promised in 2008 through our Measure WW bond election that we would expand Crab Cove with this valuable land,” adding, “the District has spent millions of dollars to maintain and improve this treasured public beach and has a long history in the community. We are happy to deliver on our promise to the community and thank the community, as well as the Attorney General, for their unwavering support during this lengthy process.”
Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer called the agreement a victory for Alameda.
“We’re thrilled that this issue has been resolved in a way that protects open space and parkland, and expands access to our shoreline,” she said. “I sincerely thank all those whose efforts have now been realized. Many Alamedans worked years to save this parcel from development. We’re glad to finally see it protected.”
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 119,000 acres in 65 parks including over 1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.