|The Future of Shipyard 3
September 7, 2002
Point Potrero Marine Terminal is the
official name of the huge area at the south end of Canal Boulevard in
Richmond that was originally built as Kaiser Shipyard Number 3. Of the
four Kaiser Shipyards constructed in Richmond during WW II, Shipyard 3
was the only one intended to be “permanent.” Because of its robust
construction, major components remain virtually unchanged today and form
a part of the Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front National Historical
Park. Shipyard 3 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
and is a California Historic Landmark. It is being considered as a
National Historic Landmark.
Preserving the historic setting of historic structures is a high priority, and the historic setting of Shipyard 3, which is still a working port, is heavy industrial. So there is no fundamental conflict between continuing port operations at Point Potrero Marine Terminal and developing portions of it as a component of the Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front National Historical Park. This is not a national park that will have meadows and bison. But there are a number of potential conflicts that involve primarily access and safety. The future uses of Point Potrero Marine Terminal need to be carefully planned so that the national park and port operations can not only coexist but can do it in a way that optimizes the objectives of each. The City Council has gone on record at least twice to support this policy of coexistence.
The principal objective of the Port of Richmond is to make money for the citizens of Richmond, and a related objective is to foster local businesses that depend on shipping. The Port of Richmond, a department of the City of Richmond, is working diligently to enhance income production from what is currently an economically moribund port. We are, however, concerned that some of the proposed uses, including long term leases with an asphalt plant (E-FORUM 8/6/2002), an aggregate operation and a slag plant, are not the type of uses that will be compatible with a national park. Although these are industrial uses, they bear no resemblance to the type of industrial uses that historically took place at the shipyards. We are also concerned that these are not the type of uses Richmond residents want to see anywhere in Richmond, much less on a waterfront that is flanked by two of Richmond’s premier housing areas, Marina Bay and Brickyard Cove.
We are a particularly concerned that in pursuing port development, no plans, priorities or economic studies have been made of the prospects for cultural tourism related to the national park. Cultural tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourist industry, and Richmond has an envious opportunity to be a major player – something no one in Richmond would have imagined even five years ago. These prospects should be at least equally considered with those questionable industrial uses being pursued by the Port of Richmond.
If you want to read more about this, there are two attached PDF files. One is a detailed description of the Shipyard 3 challenge, and the other is a letter from me to City Manager Isiah Turner.