Richmond parks, community bolstered by influx of grants

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Richmond parks, community bolstered by influx of grants
Shields-Reid Park (Photos by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

The City of Richmond is marking the arrival of 2022 with the receipt of several large grants for city parks, including Shields-Reid Park, Dirt World Park and Nevin Park. The funding spans the gamut from supporting general park improvements to expanding the community’s capacity to withstand climate-related hazards.

The Shields-Reid Park Revitalization and Dirt World Bike Park Renovation projects have received funding totaling $9.17 million via two California State Parks Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization grants, which will be used for improvements at both spaces as part of the Newsom Administration’s “Outdoors for All” initiative. Outdoors for All enables Californians to access parks and open space regardless of their zip code or income. During this highly competitive grant cycle, 112 proposals received funding out of the $548.3 million available; more than 450 applications were submitted.

The Shields-Reid Park project, centered in North Richmond, received $8 million toward the construction of a new children’s play area, bike pump track, stage and performance area, fitness zone, public art, habitat garden and tree shade area, lighting and fencing throughout the park. The park was selected for the grant funding based on community priorities to improve safety, activities the park and preserve cultural history, said the City.

More than 200 residents and stakeholders participated in several online and in-person meetings during 2020 to weigh-in on their dream park.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt expressed his appreciation to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the California Natural Resources Agency, City staff and community organizations for their continued efforts “to improve our built environment and environmental quality.”

Shields-Reid Park is also joining Nevin Park as a recipient of the PG&E Corporation Foundation’s Better Together Resilient Communities grant award for $100,000 per park. The funding will support the creation of temporary shade and cooling structures with misting nozzles that will be located in the parks to offer relief to residents during extreme heat events.

Related grant awards from PG&E’s Resilience Hubs program will fund storage for the aforementioned cooling structures and backup energy supplies at the Shield-Reid and Nevin Park Community Centers. The City said both grant awards will allow the parks and their facilities to function as resilience hubs in times of climate-related disasters.

Both parks have been identified by the County and state as being located in high priority heat vulnerability areas.

The City said it will collaborate with Rebuilding Together East Bay-North to provide workforce development opportunities to unsheltered residents via the grants that are centered on training and employment in constructing, staffing and conducting outreach re: the cooling structures.

Mayor Butt expressed his appreciation to PG&E and the city staff who made the grants possible, noting that as the effects of climate change increasingly impact communities across the globe, local officials, residents and community members “have proactively sought out initiatives to address these issues head first.”

Richmond is one of four recipients of the Better Together grant award and one of seven recipients of the Resilience Hubs.