One hundred ninety-one acres off Somerville Road are set to transfer to the East Bay Regional Park District to serve as a new grand entrance for the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.
The acquisition is the culmination of a 30-year effort by the Park District to create a more distinguished entryway for the historic Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and will enhance services by moving certain facilities and program from the interior of the park to its main entry point off Somerville Road.
Black Diamond The Park District envisions creating a new “Northern Gateway” that would offer improved visitor facilities, parking and additional space for interpretive and educational programs. Other potential improvements include picnic tables, shade structures, trail connections, drinking fountains and restrooms, among others.
Expanding public access and recreational opportunities in East Contra Costa County is a priority of the East Bay Regional Park District. The new “Northern Gateway” will help better connect East Contra Costa County residents to the Regional Preserve and the recreational opportunities it offers.
The land, previously known as the Arata Ranch, also includes a number of historic ranch structures that present opportunities for reuse and preservation depending on their condition and potential park use.
The Park District is currently updating its land use plan for the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, including potential improvements on the new property. The land will serve as a land-bank property with limited access until the land-use plan is updated and improvements are made.
The land is being purchased from the Antioch Unified School District and is expected to transfer to the Park District in Fall 2017.
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 120,000 acres in 65 parks including over1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.
Photo: Deane LIttle