New park Carlson Meadows taking shape


By Mike Kinney

A park being constructed at Carlson Boulevard and the Richmond Greenway will not only further enhance the Greenway for pedestrians and cyclists, but will also capture rainwater that falls off the BART tracks into bioswales that will feed the park’s eventual garden, according to representatives of Groundwork Richmond, which has partnered with The Watershed Project and the City of Richmond on the project.

On Saturday, members of Groundwork Richmond’s Green Team got to work at the park spreading large mulch piles. The Green Team is a skills training program for local youth that will eventually use the park space as an outdoor classroom.

As part of the project, rainwater gardens and bio-swales will be developed to control future storm water surges.

“It’s a way to take the stormwater that falls on the BART tracks, and send it through a swale so that the water percolates in the ground, and the overflow goes into the existing drain,” said Kat Sawyer, a program manager for the Watershed Project.

Sarah Calderon, Groundwork Richmond’s executive director, said gardens that will be planted will be native to California, a mixture of trees, bushes, shrubs and grass along the eastern portion of the Greenway.

The gardens are scheduled to be completed by spring of next year.

The project will enhance trails for pedestrians and cyclists and provide connectivity between El Cerrito/San Pablo Avenue, the Richmond Civic Center, and the city’s new Unity Park at 16th Street and Richmond Greenway, according to Groundwork.

Morgan Valdivieso, Groundwork Richmond’s communication coordinator, noted that Carlson Meadows also aims to be a community gathering place.

“It’s one of a few different sites that recently received funding on the eastern side of the Richmond Greenway trail,” Valdivieso said. “We are trying to have amenities like benches and bike racks out here and create more community gathering spaces. We want the whole Greenway to be a place where people in the ommunity spend time.”