June 2013 Newsletter
Welcome to my latest newsletter. There’s a lot going on in Alameda these days. The Council has been hard at work on the budget, we’re making progress on the Beltline and at Alameda Point, and we’re bringing new retail and housing opportunities to the city. And of course there’s always time to judge a good old-fashioned sand castle contest!
Here’s what’s been happening in Alameda.
Progress at the Beltline
I have good news to report on the Alameda Beltline/Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. On May 7, the Council endorsed a “Preferred Conceptual Plan” for passive recreational use of this 22-acre site, including walking paths, bike trails, a community garden, and open space. Development of the park will be a long-term, multi-phase process, based on funding availability. City staff have begun applying for grants, several local landscape architects volunteered to develop a conceptual design, and community members helped a local church group paint the old, dilapidated railroad building at the property’s Sherman Street entrance. This is Alameda at its best—where everyone pitches in!
Bike to Work Day—Changing Our Habits
The Vice Mayor's ride on May 9.
Bike to Work Day, held this year on May 9, provides an opportunity to change habits, reconsider our “love affair with the car,” and bike to work or school instead. Not only are there environmental, economic, and health benefits associated with biking and walking, but Alameda’s flat terrain makes it an easy option for short trips around town. Did you bike to work or school or to run an errand? How about choosing to make it a habit?
On Point at Alameda Point
Welcome to Park Alameda!
Park Alameda Complex, Grand Opening May 15
The former blighted Islander Motel on Central Avenue was renovated into 62 bright, airy studio apartments providing permanent, affordable, and green housing for low and very low income working people. A beautiful community meeting room for residents’ meetings and educational workshops replaced several illegal units. Close to public transit and downtown Park Street, with an on-site residential manager, Park Alameda is a welcome addition to Alameda’s residential community.
Alameda’s 47th Annual Sand Castle & Sand Sculpture Contest
Marilyn handing out an award Winner of "Best in Show"
What fun to help judge this year’s Sand Castle & Sand Sculpture Contest on June 1! There were 78 masterpieces created by more than 400 participants (teams, family groups, and a few birthday parties), hundreds of spectators, and picture-perfect weather. Kudos to Alameda Recreation & Parks Department Director, Amy Wooldridge and her hard-working staff for organizing this successful event. It was a great way to start the summer season in Alameda.
Hard at Work on the Budget
On June 11, the City Council approved a two-year budget of $163 million for ﬁscal year (FY) 2013-14 and $164 million for FY 2014-15. Budget deﬁcits of $3.5 million for FY 13-14 and $5.2 for FY 14-15 were balanced through a combination of increasing existing revenues (e.g. by raising business license fees and parking rates and ﬁnes), reduced spending by all City departments, avoiding direct impact to the public, and carrying over budget savings from the current FY. Budget revenues are generated from a variety of sources, including property taxes, sales tax revenue, utility users tax and vehicle registration fees. These revenues pay for City services like maintaining our streets, sidewalks, parks and libraries, and improving aging infrastructure such as our sewer and storm drain systems. Revenues also pay the salaries and beneﬁts of Alameda’s 406 full-time workers who keep our city open for business and a safe, welcoming place to live, work, or visit. The entire budget can be viewed here: http://alamedaca.gov/finance/fy-2013-14-and-2014-15-annual-budget
Alameda Landing Update
See you on the 4th!
I hope to see you at Alameda’s 4th of July Parade! Be sure to wave. Happy Birthday, USA!
Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…