Story by Charlotte Dekle
Photo by Erin Lee
The City Council voted to approve two concept designs for pocket parks at Berkshire Ave. and Grevelia St. at its meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 18. In addition to the designs, the action included the approval of a memorial tree, bench, and plaque dedicated to Dr. Beatriz Solis, a community and park advocate who passed away in 2020.
Since 2018, the City and David Volz Design have worked together on construction of the two pocket parks at 2006 Berkshire Ave. and 1107 Grevelia St. To construct the pocket park diagrams, the City and David Volz Design, an outside professional services group, held a community outreach workshop in 2018. With more than two dozen in attendance, the two groups presented possible ideas via mapping exercises and card surveys. The David Volz Design group brought the revised concept for the parks in the form of a Powerpoint presentation to the council.
The concept drawing of the Berkshire Ave. Park raised questions from Mayor Mahmud — specifically the angular decline towards the south end not being visible from the street.
“My concern is if [the drawing] is to scale, someone could be at the back towards where the lamppost is located.” Mahmud said, “I am very concerned that someone standing up could not be seen from the street and that poses a safety hazard for the city and for the residents.”
While David Volz concurred that there is a surveillance challenge, he contested that it is not a big issue when on-site — especially with the addition of more lighting fixtures such as lampposts.
Throughout the meeting there was also deliberation over the inclusion of a four-square court left of the park entrance. Multiple alternative games were suggested such as hopscotch or a small swing. Consideration was taken into the fact that four-square is a game involving four children and it is more feasible for a child to play hopscotch as opposed to wrangling three friends to play four-square.
Another important amendment to the item came in the form of a second dedication; the first being a tree, plaque, and bench dedicated to resident Dr. Solis who passed away in 2020 and is best known for advocating that the city purchase a vacant Caltrans lot and turn it into a pocket park.
Grevelia Ave. resident Linda Krausen’s support and advocacy for the pocket-parks in her neighborhood made her an ideal candidate for a second commemorative plaque.
“It’s totally unexpected. I don’t feel I deserve anything special,” Krausen said. “Am I happy about the park? It was inevitable.”
These amendments and additions passed unanimously and work on the parks is set to begin soon.