To the Editor:
Congratulations to the Berkeley City Council in recently voting 9 to 0 in support of support of the California Native Tree Initiative for the protection of old growth forests on state and private lands in California. Similarly strong leadership from the Council is needed right here in Berkeley, right now by representing the interests of all Berkeley residents in your support of the Eastshore Park and its preservation, conservation, and recreation objectives.
Having such a unique and naturally rich park developed as part of the urban landscape of the East Bay will be a treasure to residents and visitors alike for decades to come. The vision of the Eastshore Park and its strategy of using high-value natural areas for preservation, moderate-value natural and man-made lands for conservation and environmental improvement, and low-value man-made landfills for multi-use recreational purposes including sports fields is laudable.
The Eastshore Park vision is very fitting to the mixed natural, unnatural landfills, and urban/industrial setting that exists within and immediately adjacent to the park boundaries, respectively.
As a parent and resident of Berkeley, a member of the Albany-Berkeley Soccer Club Board of Directors (ABSC), and President of the Alameda-Contra Costa Youth Soccer League (ACCYSL), which provides recreational soccer opportunities to almost 3,000 boys and girls of Berkeley and surrounding communities, I am very excited about having the Eastshore Park in our community. The local soccer community is on the order of 10,000 to 15,000 members in size and is supportive of developing limited landfill areas at portions of the Albany Plateau and Berkeley Lands North Basin Strip as part of the Eastshore Park. Petitions supporting the Eastshore Park and limited sports field improvements to landfill areas as part of the park will be delivered to the City Council illustrating the breadth of community support for the Eastshore Park, its objectives, and limited development of 'inland' portions of existing landfill areas at the Albany Plateau and North Basin Strip on Berkeley Lands.
A city of Berkeley study determined that 11 more recreational sports fields were necessary to adequately serve the recreational needs of its population. Only two fields have been built since that study was completed. Nine more fields are needed in Berkeley! Yet, there are only a couple potential field sites that might practically be developed in the densely, well-developed, urban setting of Berkeley. Therefore, improving the inland portions of landfill areas at the Albany Plateau and Berkeley's North Basin Strip is not optional, it is a mandatory need of this community.
Please add your voice to the City Council's support of the Eastshore Park Concept Plan with recreational sports fields at the North Basin Strip. The residents of Berkeley and the youth of the Bay Area will benefit for decades to come.
- Guy Petraborg
Albany-Berkeley Soccer Club