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Kiwanis Club to Host Speaker on Del Monte Project

ALAMEDA DEL MONTE WAREHOUSE

Jim Meek of Tim Lewis Communities will speak at the Wednesday, July 9, lunch meeting of the Alameda Kiwanis Club regarding the proposal for a mixed-use community master plan in and around the historic Del Monte Warehouse, 1501 Buena Vista Ave.

The Kiwanis meet at noon at the Elks Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Ave. Lunch is optional.

One of only 30 designated historic landmarks on the Island, the exterior of the warehouse would be restored and preserved under the plan.

The city’s landmark Del Monte building on Buena Vista Avenue could be transformed into a mix of about 300 lofts, flats and townhouses and about 10,000 square feet of commercial space under a proposal that city officials are now considering. (A copy of the plans can be reviewed in the second-floor reference section of the Alameda Main Library.)

Kiwanis are volunteers who aim to change the world through volunteer service to children and communities. For more information, see the group’s website.

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Touching sacred cows: Alameda’s Measure A

Last week I wrote a column for the Alameda Journal about Measure A, a sacred cow of Alameda politics. I said that we ought to think about means of controlling growth that allow for thoughtful and comprehensive (rather than reactionary) planning. I wrote:

It is well within human ingenuity to craft laws that allow for the construction of apartments where it is appropriate and still protect handsome old houses. And it is folly to cling so tightly to a law passed out of fear and anger. It’s time for Alameda to show that it can protect what is valuable about its past at the same time as it embraces the future.

You can, of course, read the whole column here.

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Alameda’s Good Chevrolet closes its doors

Park Street’s Good Chevrolet announced yesterday that it was closing its doors after 58 years of business. The Alameda Journal‘s Peter Hegarty has the story. According to Alamedans blogger John Knox White, the store closed because of pressure from Chevy Financing:

Apparently, the Chevy’s Financing Company demanded that they pay down their inventory on Monday (rumored to be close to $2 million) and the Owner John Buono said “enough’s enough” and shut the doors.

You can read more about plans for the revitalization of that area, called the “Gateway District,” over at Michele Ellson’s The Island and at Lauren Do’s Blogging Bayport. (For good measure, here’s the City of Alameda’s page on the area.)

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Del Monte Building development

Saturday I was driving my son down to a birthday party at the Bladium and he asked, as we passed that long brick structure on Buena Vista across the street from Littlejohn Park, “What’s that building for, Mom?” I hemmed and hawed, not really knowing. “I think it used to be where they packed fruit. It might be vacant now.” But today Alameda’s own Lauren Do has a post about some developments at the old Del Monte building, which one city document indicates was built in 1927 by the Alaska Packing Corporation. For fruit? For fish? I still don’t know. But it sounds like soon it’ll be an Asian-themed marketplace-type-establishment. Lauren has lots of details.

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Rising sea levels and development

Both Lauren Do and Michele Ellson posted this morning about rising sea levels and their impact on Alameda: Just what will be under water here as the ocean rises? A few months back, my presciently helpful research assistant sent email on this topic to Continue Reading

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This weekend in Alameda: poppies, rally and charrette

califpoppyI am delighted to report that the first California poppy of the season has blossomed in my yard—which I, for one, take as a clear sign that spring has arrived. While many of you in sunnier island spots have had poppies for weeks, yesterday’s was my first, and I am pleased: I quite like those bright-orange, drought-tolerant (drought-happy, even) flowers.

That said, many of y’all may want to attend Saturday’s volunteer rally and training (Longfellow, 10-1) sponsored by the Alameda Education Foundation and Keep Alameda Schools Excellent. You can learn more about an upcoming campaign to raise awareness of school funding issues (brought to Alameda pro bono by Wrecking Ball) and learn more facts and figures about the parcel tax.

Should you opt not to go the school event, there’s always Saturday’s city-sponsored Community Visioning Charrette brought to my attention by John over there at Stop, Drop and Roll. A charrette you might say, of course! But I, for one, had to google-dictionary that baby. Nonetheless, it sounds like it’s a meeting (Alameda Free Library, 9-1) to discuss a development plan for Park Street north of Lincoln, now that the sales-tax-generating car dealerships are going. As we all know—and as John points out—an ounce of planning is worth three pounds of second guessing/complaining.

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This Week’s Alamedan: Dave McCarver

David McCarver Name: Dave McCarver
Age: 44
Lived in Alameda: Since first grade
Occupation: Owner, with Dennis Jameson, Alameda Advertising and Recognition, Inc. Launched out of a garage in 1991, AA&R sell plaques, trophies and gear. “We’re about 50-50 awards and promotional stuff (anything you can put your logo on).”
Children: April, 7, and Christopher, 9
Activities: Alameda Boys and Girls Club Advisory Board, youth baseball, basketball and softball coach.

Like best about Alameda?

There’s a really strong sense of community here. It’s nice to go into Doumitt Shoes and see Tony, who I went to high school with and go to McGee’s and see Johnny who I’ve known for 25 years. The community supports itself: most of the teams and leagues and schools in Alameda use us–and we sponsor teams.

Would like to change about Alameda?
I don’t like the fact that people drive too fast though the streets, even side streets. Kids can’t play outside because cars speed by too fast.

Word to the wise
I think that they should allow as much as triplexes out at the base. I’d like to see our police and fire and teachers be able to live here. Not everyone can afford to buy an $800,000 house and we all lose because we’re not able to walk around town and see our teachers and our firemen–maybe have them coach our kids or see them at an event or get to know their kids because they live here. I wouldn’t change Measure A for the island, but I would allow some flexibility out on the base.

More to the wise
We need to get the Boys and Girls Club built, because everything else is pay to play. They’ve got some really good grants and there’s been a lot of community support, but they still need to raise more before they can begin construction. Growing up we’d go there all afternoon and do any number of things–wood shop, ping-pong, crafts, basketball. Kids need a place to go now more than ever.