In 2002, State Parks adopted a General Plan for Eastshore State Park (now McLaughlin Eastshore State Park) which includes the Albany waterfront and Bulb. The Plan outlines how the area is intended to be maintained and utilized as an open space public park, identifying both conservation and passive recreation areas. In addition, the Albany community, through the lead of the City’s Waterfront Committee identified a number of planning goals for the Albany Waterfront as documented in the 1995 “Proposal for the Albany Portion of Eastshore State Park”.
Transition to Public Parkland
Both the State Parks General Plan for Eastshore State Park and the Proposal for the Albany Portion of Eastshore State Park underscore the primary goal to provide an open, usable parkland area for the enjoyment of the community at large. The site is currently owned by the City of Albany and is open to the public for recreational use. East Bay Regional Parks serves as an agent of the State Parks system to manage adjoining areas of the waterfront.
The City owned portion of the Albany waterfront is designated to be part of the Eastshore State Park. The transition has not been implemented due to concerns regarding uneven ground, protruding metal, unregulated art projects, construction debris, and recent homeless encampments. In preparation for transferring City lands into the State Park, the City Council requested that the Police Department begin enforcing the City’s no camping policy on the Bulb, and existing homeless encampments have been removed.
The Albany City Council has reviewed matters related to the Albany waterfront and bulb over the course of the last several years. On June 3, 2013, the Council approved the Mayor, Vice Mayor and City Manager to represent the City Council in discussions with the East Bay Regional Park District (District) and State Parks (State) for the purpose of planning the Albany Bulb as a park and planning the transfer of responsibility to the State. The ultimate goal is to carry out the language in the Eastshore State Park General Plan as well as the Proposal for the Albany Portion of Eastshore State Park to ensure the park is available and usable to all park goers.
Albany Neck & Bulb Transition Study
The City has received a grant of $168,000 from the California Coastal Conservancy to develop a plan for improving the Albany Neck and Bulb to enable this area to become part of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park (download the Grant Agreement here). The plan will be used by the City and the East Bay Regional Park District to create an agreement on what improvements/modifications will be made to the area, seek funding for improvements, and establish a phasing plan for construction. The preparation of a transition plan is a critical step towards the implementation of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) for planning consulting services for this project was issued on July 31, 2014 (download the RFP here). The City selected Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC (WRT) (see Staff Report). The firm began work on the project in November 2014.
The first community meeting regarding the preparation of the Transition Plan took place on Thursday, February 19th, 2015 at 7:00pm in the City Hall Council Chambers. You can view the presentation slides here.
After completing an initial community engagement process and a technical site analysis, WRT prepared an Existing Conditions Report and a Draft Enhancement Strategy Evaluation Matrix of proposed improvement strategies. The consultant team presented the findings at the October 6th City Council meeting, where members of the public were encouraged to provide input on proposed improvements. Download the presentation here. Other meeting documents are posted here.
The final Transition Study is scheduled for adoption at a special meeting on Monday, June 6th from 6pm-7:30pm. Consultants from WRT will give a brief presentation on the process and the final study, and there will be an opportunity for public comment. You can download the final Transition Study and attachments on our website.
The Transition Study will facilitate budgeting and applications for grant funding to eliminate hazards, protect the integrity of the landfill, and other activities necessary to facilitate implementation of the State Park.
RESOLUTION AND MOU With EBRPD - MOU with East Bay Regional Park District - fully executed