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August 20, 2006

On August 17, 2006, a group of some 60 persons walked most of the western Phase 1 portion of the Richmond Greenway to see construction in process and talk about the future, including a growing Friends of the Richmond Greenway organization that will seek additional grants for enhancements, recruit businesses and neighborhood organizations to “adopt” portions of the route and act as a watchdog to make sure the linear park remains clean and crime free.

The diverse group included City Manager Bill Lindsay, Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council President Otheree Christian, Richmond Parks Supervisor Sharon West, Richmond Planner Hector Rojas,  Redevelopment Greenway Project Manager Craig Murray, Cheryl Meier of Opportunity West, Nancy Baer of Contra Costa County Health Department,  Ben Gettleman of Rails to Trails Conservancy,  Construction Manger Michael Glaser of Vali Cooper Associates, Richmond Arts Coordinator Michelle Seville,  representatives from the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Senator Don Perata’s office and many more.

Work in process consisted mainly of rough grading, but it enabled the group to see, perhaps for the first time, the entire  expanse of the Greenway, unhindered by weeds, junk and illegal encroachments. Many attendees were surprised at how wide the right of way is in certain areas, such as east of Marina Way, where it is larger than some parks and could accommodate community gardens, basketball courts and picnic areas.

Because of ongoing construction at the Marina Way overpass, the group had to detour form Harbour Way to Marina Way along Ohio Avenue, getting an eyeful of just how gritty that neighborhood is. Weeds, trash, inoperable vehicles, dilapidated fences and buildings all violate Richmond’s Nuisance Ordinance and should be abated.

It is also apparent that a concentrated nuisance abatement effort is needed adjacent to the Greenway to improve the appearance of its environs once it is completed.

For more information, see RTC California field office: The Richmond Greenway and The Richmond Greenway MASTER PLAN. To find out how to join Friends of the Richmond Greenway (FORG) or adopt part of the Greenway contact Ben Gettleman, 415/397-2220 or email Benjamin@railstotrails.org.