UPDATE: Earlier reports from media and organizers stated NFL players, including possibly Marshawn Lynch, were planning to attend. Organizers have since told us that no NFL player is scheduled to attend.
Members of Cal men’s basketball team are expected to attend the grand opening of Santa Fe Union Park Saturday in Richmond on Saturday, according to the nonprofit For Richmond, a contributor and organizer of the park revitalization project.
While the park on South 2nd Street between Florida and Main avenues is not the largest in the city, the collaboration of neighbors, businesses, the city and other community partners to revitalize the space has clearly been a star effort.
For about two decades, this is the kind of view you’d find at the former play lot:
Neighbors were not only weary of this blighted property, they were concerned about public safety problems in the neighborhood in general. So the Santa Fe Neighborhood Council worked with police to make the area safer. The Contra Costa Times wrote Thursday about how a police crackdown on prostitution may have successfully cleaned up a lot of the crime. But also, neighbors launched an effort in recent years to revitalize the 2nd Street play lot into an active space local families can safely use.
The project became a true community effort, with several businesses donating funds and local unions donating labor. Slowly but surely, the revitalized park began to take shape. Here’s what it looked like on June 23:
Since then, volunteers have been hard at work building upon the park in preparation for its grand opening this Saturday at noon. The newly vibrant and active space is now equipped with basketball and futsal (soccer) courts, children’s play areas and a seating area.