Harbour-8 Park improvements get nod from city staff

Artist: Maren Van Duyn, Scientific Art Studio

City staff is recommending moving forward with Pogo Park’s planned improvements to Harbour 8 Park on the Richmond Greenway, located at Harbour Way South north of Ohio Avenue and south of Chanslor Avenue.

The proposed grant-funded improvements, all of which are expected to be completed by August, include a new entry archway at Harbour Way South, a nearby community plaza, rain garden, mini sports field and a brick wall with seating at the oft-used Harbour Way bus stop, according to city documents. Opened in 2014, the park currently features a bike and pedestrian path, garden beds and a small play area with a spider climber and seating.

The city’s Design Review Board is set to hold a public hearing on the plans Wednesday evening in the Multi-Purpose Room at Community Services Building (440 Civic Center Plaza). City staff is recommending that the board approve the project’s design review permit.

“Staff finds that the project is well designed, will greatly enhance the Greenway, and will provide park space in a neighborhood lacking much park space,” according to city documents.

Harbour-8 Park: For the people, by the people
During the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service events on the Richmond Greenway, a life-size replica of the proposed improvements to Harbour-8 Park were on display for residents to see, use and provide input.

A $330,000 Community Development Block Grant will fund construction of the mini sports field, which will be surrounded by perimeter netting to capture kicked or thrown balls. The mini sports field will be illuminated by four lights, the impacts of which the city requested further analysis.

The other project plans, including a new archway, brick wall, rain garden and community plaza connected to the senior center, received funding from a grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development Housing-Related Parks Program, according to city documents. That grant money must be spent by June 30 or be forfeited, staff said.

“The entry archways will create a focal point for the site and the trail, and will include an art element,” the documents state. “The specific art element is to be determined. The project will also incorporate a brick wall with a built in seating area adjacent to a bus stop along Harbour Way South. There will be multiple entrances to the park including access from the Richmond Greenway Trail and two additional points of access to connect the senior apartments to the park.”

Pogo Park conducted ample public outreach on the planned improvements. On Jan. 21, during Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the nonprofit invited the community to see a life-size replica of the proposed improvements, including an actual-sized miniature playfield.

Toody Maher, executive director and founder of Pogo Park, said the improvements are the result of a successful private-public partnership involving city and local businesses, such as Chevron Richmond.

In 2017, Pogo Park, which also created the award-winning Elm Playlot as well as the Yellow Brick Road safe bike and walking route, received a $1 million grant from the Chevron eQuip Richmond Economic Revitalization Initiative to launch Pogo Park Products, a for-profit social enterprise. The investment enabled Pogo Park’s growing line of park designs and structures to develop into a full-fledged business capable of contracting with city and county governments on park projects. Since its launch, Pogo Park Products has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of contracts with the city of Richmond and Contra Costa County.

To read more about the ambitious short and longer-term visions for Harbour 8 Park, click here.