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WCCUSD Joins in Funding Match for Maritime Center for Working Families

WCCUSD Board Members Charles Ramsey, Glen Price and Karen Pfeiffer formed a majority vote at last Wednesday nightís School Board meeting that was both visionary and courageous to ensure the funding match for $2 million grant form California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) just hours before a deadline that could have sent the money somewhere else. See Richmond Scores Triple Crown in CCHE Competition, April 28, 2006, Wartime Children's Art Captivates Visitors at Maritime Center Open House, October 15, 2006 and A Click a Day Can Help Richmond, We Say, September 23, 2006.

The Maritime Child Care Center was owned and operated by the WCUSD from 1943 to 1991 when Contra Costa County acquired the property and took over pre-school programs due to shifts in federal funding. The building was closed in 2004 when the new Ruth Powers (formerly Pullman) Center opened on Main Avenue in Richmond.

The current proposal for the rehabilitated Maritime Center is to serve three purposes:

  • Interpretive center for Rosie the Riveter WW II Home Front National Historical Park, focusing on the role innovative and cutting edge child care played in allowing working mothers to contribute to the Hoe Front.

  • Pre-school classrooms and administrative facilities for the Richmond Childrenís Foundation.
  • Pre-school classrooms and administrative facilities for the WCCUSD pre-school programs currently at the Nystrom campus.

The WCCUSD funding commitment is a unique opportunity for the WCCUSD to participate with the greater community for a project where, figuratively speaking, 2 + 2 will equal 6, or more, for many reasons:

  •  The WCCUSD board is a signatory to the NURVE Resolution (02-0607) approved at the July 12, 2006, WCCUSD Board meeting. The resolution commits the WCCUSD to participate in a community revitalization project that includes not only the Nystrom campus, but also the Maritime Center, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Park and Community Center and the surrounding neighborhood. Other participants include the east Bay Community Foundation, the City of Richmond and the Richmond Childrenís Foundation.

  •  The Maritime Child Care Center, as currently programmed, will include facilities that the WCCUSD would have to pay at least $1 million for anyway as part of the program for the Nystrom campus reconstruction.

  •  Contra Costa County has essentially contributed the Maritime Center building and site, providing a 30-year lease at no cost. That, alone, is worth between $1 and $2 million.

  •  There are other funding sources that are expected to come on line. Contra Costa County has applied for additional federal funding. The East Bay Community Foundation continues to look for additional funding sources. The National Park Service has already contributed modest funding to various technical studies and reports and has made application for additional emergency stabilization funding. Other National Park Service funding will be forthcoming but is subject to federal procedures that cannot be rushed. By this time, you are aware, I hope, of the Partners in Preservation/American Express <http://www.partnersinpreservation.com/>  grant funding for which the Maritime Center is competing with other Bay Area Historic landmarks (Have you voted every day?). Other grant sources, such as Save Americaís Treasures <http://www.saveamericastreasures.org/> , will become available next year.


 The community around Richmondís Nystrom Elementary School and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park includes the Santa Fe and Coronado neighborhoods and borders on the Iron Triangle neighborhood. This community faces challenges common to many inner-city areas across the country, including physical and economic blight, high rates of crime both perceived and real, at-risk youth, high unemployment, and poverty. These issues pose serious risks to the health, safety, and overall quality of life of local residents.

To strategically address these challenges, the Richmond Childrenís Foundation (RCF) and the East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF) are sponsoring the Nystrom United ReVitalization Effort (NURVE). Through community-based planning and technical analysis, NURVE seeks to build a vision of a healthy and vibrant community and clear a path to achieve that vision. Working closely with local residents and partners, the project sponsors seek to transform the area served by Nystrom Elementary into a place that meets the diverse needs of children and families. 

The NURVE Neighborhood Plan represents eight months of work by the consulting team and collaboration among local stakeholders. It presents a vision for local neighborhood revitalization, as well as a road map towards achieving short- and long-term goals. It is intended to guide decision-makers and spur activity among public officials, private entities, and neighborhood residents. Ultimately, the NURVE Executive and Working Committees will assume the responsibility of implementing the Plan.