The 3 block-long Greenbelt is located along a portion of the Temescal Creek bed, on property belonging to the Alameda Flood Control District and leased by the City of Oakland. The greenbelt balances quiet areas featuring benches, redwood groves and butterfly gardens, with active play areas including children’s play structures, swings (potential future element) and a climbing wall (backside of Hardy Playground). Along most portions of the greenbelt the faux creek has been or will be restored with improved channels, native plants, and small boulders for creek crossing. Handicap ramping at the Redondo site allows for easy access to the creek.
The new park is supported by a coalition of local leaders and organizations including Friends of the Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt, theRockridge Community Planning Council (RCPC), Temescal Neighbors Together, Friends of Temescal Creek, DMV Neighbors Association (DNA), Rockridge and Temescal merchant groups and : former Councilmember Jane Brunner, MIG (Moore, Iacofano and Goltsman)of Berkeley , with the City of Oakland’s Office of Public Works and Office of Parks & Recreation, are designing the park. Robert Leathers & Associates of Ithaca, NY designed the two playgrounds as part of the community-build process. Friends of OaklandParks and Recreation (FOPR) is facilitating the community involvement in the ongoing park development and administering the public funds being used to fund the master plan design and each phase of construction. During Phase I of the Greenbelt development, FOPR also served as the fiscal agent for FROG, accepting tax-deductible park gifts and grants. RCPC now provides that service on behalf of FROG.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FUNDING:
The Greenbelt design and construction is funded by $460,000 from the City of Oakland’s Measure I 1996 Bond Measure, which is improving parks and libraries throughout Oakland; $50,000 from the Alameda County Watershed Awareness Program; and $493,000 from the State Proposition 12 Parks Bonds. In 2001, Vice Mayor and councilmember Jane Brunner allocated her entire annual allotment of Paygo Funds, $125,000, to the Greenbelt. Thank you, Jane Brunner! In August 2004, FROG was successful in securing $140,000 of Measure DD funding to help complete the Greenbelt. In addition, FROG has to date raised over $115,000 from the community (neighbors, corporations and foundations) to supplement the park funding and complete the construction of the children’s play structure. Over 300 individuals have donated. Click here to make YOUR donation today!
The Rockridge and Temescal neighborhoods were long ago identified in the City’s Open Space General Plan, as two areas with the greatest need of open space and parks in Oakland. Many young families with children have been attracted to these two neighborhoods as they have revived, while a large population of seniors and long-term residents continue to reside there. The Greenbelt, a neighborhood park, is within a short walking distance for many of this population, and provides much-needed green space and recreational play areas. Neighborhood clean-ups of the existing creek, as well as the regular FROG playground maintenance days, demonstrate ongoing community support for the park. Many thanks to the DMV Neighbors Association (DNA) for sponsoring their organized creek cleanings four times per year.
Groundbreaking of the Greenbelt occured in September 2001. FROG hosted a groundbreaking celebration for the community at the Hardy Park site on September 9, 2001. The first phase of the Greenbelt, including the playgrounds, was completed in early 2002. The second phase was completed in 2006, after extensive community input.
“When we got the master plan for the park approved in 2000, we called ourselves the Friends of the Greenbelt, like many “Friends of ….” organizations, and the park was called the Greenbelt or the Rockridge/Temescal Park or sometimes the Creekside Greenbelt Park. At a meeting in mid-2000, we were talking about the creek and aquatic life that would be in the creek if it flowed year-round, such as frogs and salamanders. Because nowadays everything seems to become an acronym, a few of us used “FOG” as an abbreviation for Friends of the Greenbelt.” Someone (I don’t remember who) said “instead of FOG, which sounds like San Francisco, maybe we should be FROG, friends of the Rockridge Greenbelt, for the creek and the frogs” and it was like a flash of lightning. We altered the name slightly to Friends of the Rockridge/Temescal Greenbelt, and became FROG at that time. As we continued to work on plans for the park, I believe it was our Big Build chair, Eileen Fitz-Faulkner, who suggested we stamp a frog design in the pathway, and then that we call this “Frog Park” instead of the Greenbelt. It made perfect sense, given the creek and the theme of the park, and throughout 2001 when we were recruiting volunteers for the project we started to call it Frog Park. So it actually started with the acronym for the organizing group, and then the name Frog Park came about less than a year later. Eventually (it took some years) the city adopted Frog Park as one of the official names of the park, and the names Hardy Park and Redondo Park were retained (this has to do with what is listed on the police and fire databases, though few people use those names nowadays). A few years ago, we started calling the Hardy Park play structure area “Big Frog” and the Redondo play structure area “Little Frog,” which seems to have resonated with people.” — As told by Theresa Nelson, Frog Park’s co-founder
Here’s a nice summary of the park on the Oakland Wiki.