Public invited to see final plans for Yellow Brick Road

The Iron Triangle-based Pogo Park is seeking public input on final plans to build the Yellow Brick Road Project.

Ten years in the making, final plans have been developed for the Yellow Brick Road Project in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood. The public is invited to learn more about the proposals this week.

Every day through Friday, community members are encouraged to visit Elm Playlot, 720 Elm Ave., from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., in order to view the plans, meet the folks behind the Yellow Brick Road project and talk to directly to city staff, engineers/designers.

Funded by over $12 million in grants, the Yellow Brick Road project will install pedestrian safety improvements and hundreds of trees and native plants along 7th Street from Pennsylvania to Ripley avenues, along 8th Street from Lincoln to Ohio avenues, and along Pennsylvania Avenue from 2nd Street to Harbour Way.

The project is expected to go to bid in Spring, with construction beginning next summer, said Toody Maher, founder of the nonprofit Pogo Park, which has spearheaded this project along with the construction of Elm Playlot and Harbour 8 parks in the Iron Triangle neighborhood.

The concept for the Yellow Brick Road came from local youth in 2009, during a period when violence reached a peak in the neighborhood. As part of a summer project challenging the youth to come up with ideas to improve their neighborhood, the youth suggested creating a safe, inviting pathway (Yellow Brick Road) connecting all the important assets families rely upon in the Iron Triangle, such as community centers, parks, churches and schools. Pogo Park carried the idea forward and has been working with community members and the city on the Yellow Brick Road Project for the last decade.

In 2015, the Yellow Brick Road Project won a $6.2 million Caltrans grant for “grey-scaping,” which will include enhancements sidewalks, utilities, asphalt etc. In 2017, the California Natural Resources Agency awarded the project a $4.1 million grant for “green-scaping,” to install and maintain trees and plants. The project is also receiving a $2 million investment from Chevron Environmental and Community Investment Agreement (ECIA).

Pogo Park is quite busy this week. While it continues public outreach on the Yellow Brick Road Project, Maher said her team has made significant progress in ongoing construction at Harbour-8 Park.

As part of a $600,000 state grant, improvements at Harbour 8 park have been installed including an archway and brick wall and, as we write this, a mini play field is under construction thanks to a federal grant. Maher said the play field is expected to be completed in three weeks.