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Panelists Discuss Lessons for Alameda Point from Other Base Conversions

Over 50 people showed up last night at the restored art-deco theater on Alameda Point to hear a panel share what they’ve learned from the redevelopment of other military bases in California. Allen Michaan donated the use of the theater to a group of citizens holding a series of forums on “moving forward” with the redevelopment of Alameda Point.

Alameda resident Nancy Rogers moderated the discussion with Mike Fassler of the Presidio Land Trust, Doug Yount, the Director of Strategic Development for the City of Marina, who spoke about the Fort Ord conversion, and Alameda Vice-Mayor Doug deHaan who shared information on the El Toro Base conversion in Southern California.

Moderator Nancy Rogers and panelists Mike Fassler, Doug Yount, Doug deHaan

The panelists gave presentations on the conversions of the Presidio and Fort Ord Army bases to civilian conversions, and answered questions from the audience about the potential they see for Alameda Point to be successful. Doug Yount noted that Fort Ord was closed in 1994, and only about 25% of the former base is redeveloped now.

Jasmine Tokuda, an Alameda resident in attendance, told Action Alameda News, “I’m really thrilled that this event is available to the community at large. I would really love to see a whole lot more people involved in this planning process, because now we’ve viewed one option, the SunCal view and the single developer view, and I really think the more different ideas that we bring to the table from members of the community the better the result we’re going to end up with.” Ms. Tokuda wants to explore options for bringing in the Veteran’s Administration health clinic, in possible partnership with Alameda Hospital. “We need to think holistically,” she said.

Also in the audience were Alameda City Council Candidates Adam Gillitt – “I think its wonderful that our neighbors come out and participate in the planning and future of Alameda Point” – and Jean Sweeney, who stated, “I believe that we could benefit at Alameda Point from all of their experiences and I think we should look harder at this trust idea to preserve the buildings and to make them usable and, as they say, generate the kind of money we need to complete and upgrade the infrastructure at Alameda Point.”

Art Lipow, husband of Gretchen Lipow, one of the citizen organizers of the forum, commented, “It was a very interesting meeting, and it made me realize how much time we wasted with developers and SunCal. We lost a lot of time, we have to get started now, on a real plan for Alameda Point, one that includes positive developments. It was a good meeting, it’s what we should have been doing all this time, thinking about the City as the master developer.”

At the end of the meeting, Action Alameda News asked moderator Nancy Rogers how the forums – last night’s was the second in a series – are going. She said, “We’re just really excited that people are coming out and are interested in finding out what the possibilities are for Alameda Point, they’re thinking outside of the box. They’ve gotten off the conversation always being about housing, and we’re looking at things that are more positive. I think that there’s a much more positive approach to the future of Alameda Point and there’s a lot of good ideas and a lot of alternatives that make a lot of sense and we’re ready to start moving forward.”

The forums are being recorded for viewing online and through DVD. Video of the first forum, held August 11th, is available online in the “Films” section of this website.

2 comments to Panelists Discuss Lessons for Alameda Point from Other Base Conversions

  • localyokel

    Yes, both the meetings to date have been really terrific, both informative and encouraging.

    Here’s what we’d be facing if we still had SunCal out there, and what we could be stuck with yet again, if Tam or Gilmore (backed by a reconfigured Council) have their way.

    Where real estate once boomed, half-built eyesores stain landscape:

    Or look at Pacifica San Juan, a 400-home development that has been 15 percent complete for about two years, a victim of the economic slowdown’s toll on developer SunCal, homebuilder John Laing Homes and financier Lehman Brothers.

    “There was nobody to go back to, literally,” said homeowner Marc Sarver. “The feeling in the community is that whenever things got tough, everybody just filed for bankruptcy and walked away. We still have to live there.”

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