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A’s in Central Park

The same fellow who sent an interesting mock photo of an A’s stadium in Downtown Fremont to the excellent New A’s Ballpark Blog, also sent it to me. But I wasn’t tech savvy enough to get it up on the blog, let alone include the other stuff you can see on the Stadium Blog.

To see what an A’s stadium would look like (from above) on the north side of Central Park, click here.

Matt Artz

  • http://noasws.blogspot.com NoAsWS

    The residents just have two simple questions:

    Q: Do the Oakland A’s really need to build the ballpark in Fremont?

    Q: Does Fremont really need the Oakland A’s baseball stadium?

  • worble

    This is worse than the other two locations. The only thing it has is the bart station other than that this Idea is terrible. Stevenson can’t handle the traffic it has now and Mowry is not much better. It would be a shame if Fremont tears down a park and builds a ballpark for over paid athletes and the beer drinkers that think that this is Americas favorite past time. NO TO THE BALLPARK IN FREMONT!!!!!!

  • Doug

    Ha, ha, ha, ha! Now that I’ve gotten up off the floor and back in my chair let me relate a true story.

    On September 9, 2006, I helped put on the opening event for Fremont’s 50th Anniversary celebration at Central Park. It was called Hands Around the Lake. We needed 2,700 participants in order to have the numbers required to ring the entire lake. The city was very, very concerned about that many people showing up all at one time in the center of the city. Now you’re talking about 32,000?! Need I say more? Don’t think so.

  • La Boca

    Doug,

    How many people come to “downtown” each year for the Fremont Art and Wine Festival?

  • MikeTeeVee

    There are 10 soccer fields right next to the proposed ballpark site. There are a dozen or more players on each team, along with spectators. That’s 20 dozen players (240) and about as many spectators.

    With that number of people, nearby parking regularly fills up and overflows into the deaf school. The proposed site wipes out the largest of the nearby parking lots.

    If Warm Springs residents don’t want a ballpark across the freeway, what will residents along Stevenson think of a ballpark across the street? Can they watch a game from their roof, like at Wrigley Field?

    Isn’t this the same city that canceled July 4 fireworks in Central Park because they couldn’t handle the crowds?

  • MikeTeeVee

    As long as we’re brainstorming alternative ballpark sites in Fremont, how about some of these:

    West of 880, north of Dixon Landing, south of where Fremont Blvd currently ends. Nowhere near anybody’s backyard, but right off the freeway.

    West end of Auto Mall, west of the railroad tracks. Again, nowhere near anybody’s backyard. Right next to a future train station. If Shoreline Amphitheater can be built on a former “landfill”, why not a ballpark?

  • La Boca

    According to the Fremont Festival of the Arts web page; the 2007 festival brought over 400,000 people to “downtown” Fremont over one weekend! Two city blocks away from Central Park.

  • Doug

    La Boca, you’ve got the numbers right. You also mention “over one weekend,” as opposed to 81 home games in a baseball season.

    Let’s see, how many cars can fit at one time in the left turn lane for Stevenson off of Mission Blvd.?

    Personally I like our Central Park just the way it is.

    The downtown San Jose sight is looking more attractive with each new Fremont suggestion.

  • La Boca

    Doug,

    Mission provides access from both 580 and 680 not to mention the historic Niles Canyon to Mowry, Walnut and Stevenson. Stevenson is not the only access point off of 880. You have Fremont North and South, not to mention Mowry as well as Stevenson. And then there’s BART (remember $5 a gal?). What does all this mean? SEVERAL ACCESSS ROUTES which dilutes the draffic in any one area to below 1/4 – 1/6. Not to mention “incentivizing people to use public transit.

    In addition, once the vehicles arrive from multiple directions they reach multiple parking areas in the CBD/downtown complementing business activity; what a concept?

    As for the housing; the City is currently very much involved with encouraging housing in the downtown – though there are still those who belieave that a “downtown” doesn’t need housing (?). Likewise, check on the City’s WEB page to see there strategy for infill housing in Centerville, Irvington, and particularly the CBD.

    Finnaly, if you check into the most cutting edge ball parks – they are now downtown.

    As for your homerun Jeffrey, just think – you could tell your kids that you hit a home run there first!

    Bottom line; this could finally make a real downtown – it’s up to the people of Fremont (or it should be).

    As I see it, it’s not time for Fremont to give it up – it’s time for Fremont to decide if they really want to create a central business district- a real downtown.

  • Doug

    How about a downtown for Fremont folks, like a movie theater, a performing arts center, a boulevard lined with restaurants, art galleries, specialty shops, maybe a museum. You know, things you could frequent 365 days a year on your own schedule rather than a home game schedule. I’d prefer seeing locally owned small businesses rather than one owned by an out of town business interests.

    Heck, I’d even support a zoo, just not the type of zoo a ballpark would create.

  • Gus Morrison

    I wouldn’t waste any energy supporting or opposing this idea. Under both state and federal law, park lands have special protections and cannot easily be converted to other uses when either state or federal funds are used to build it.

    In addition, the city needs to show a certain acreage of park per thousand people (I forget the exact number) in order to keep collecting park dedication fees from developers. Taking land from Central Park without replacing it somewhere else as park land could have serious financial impacts on both park acquisition and park development. The city has had problems acquiring enough land to stay above the requirement.

  • La Boca

    Good points Gus.

    How about a waterfront park on the forty (40) acres in the PC area that the City is planning on throwing in on the deal in exchange for the 12-14 acres leased in Central Park for the stadium. Ever seen the waterfront park in Berkeley.

    Also, not sure that either state of federal dollars would be involved?

  • MikeTeeVee

    [the 2007 festival brought over 400,000 people to “downtown” Fremont over one weekend]

    That’s a lot, but it’s split over two days. With people coming and going continuously throughout the day, rather than all coming for a single three-hour event and leaving at once.

  • Doug

    La Boca, why not just put the stadium on the waterfront area you mentioned and leave our beautiful Central Park out of this? We have already had one new facility added in it that will only be open 87 days a year.

    Enough said on this issue. Like Gus said, it’s not worth anymore bandwidth.

  • La Boca

    Fair enough Doug, but does anyone else get to vote on this idea? After discovery and debate?

    If the people of Fremont don’t want the A’s – so be it.

    It does however seem reasonable to consider what some might think a better “greener” idea.

  • bbox231

    This is clearly one of the most entertaining outcomes of this entire discussion and proposal.

    This “leak” by unnamed sources and the promotion of this “concept” by no one of any official capacity is little more than comic relief.

    Stay focussed on known facts of the issue – I concur with Gus M’s take on this and predict this one will eventually be seen by all as someone’s idea of humor.

  • http://www.bacon2008.com Vinnie Bacon

    This is just plain nuts! I’d agree that Central Park is fine the way it is. The water park already detracts enough from the park’s natural beauty.

    The whole idea was supposed to be that this won’t cost the City anything. Would we just hand over 50-60 acres to the A’s? And do we really want a 40 acre parking lot in our Central Park?

    Gus, thanks for your comments. I’m resting a little easier now.

  • worble

    LET THE PEOPLE OF FREMONT VOTE. NO TO THE BALLPARK IN FREMONT!!!!

  • La Boca

    Vinnie,

    Since the City already owns the land wouldn’t the Central Park location make the City and the CBD money – not cost it money?. Not a bad idea at this point in time.

    Likewise, the stadium itself takes up just 12 to 14 acres; the rest of the development AND THE PARKING could go into the CBD making a real downtown. Have you and GUS read any of the posts on the BLOG referred to above?

    Contrary to what you both have said; I think it’s worth debating. If the City and the A’s are going to model/study (with traffic & economic consultants) the impacts of a Warm Springs site – why not study the effects of the Central Park location? You might be surprised at the results.

    If it did turn out to be a more “green” location, both environmentally (per CEQA) as well as more green financially, why not let the people of Fremont decide?

    Think green Vinnie!

  • La Boca

    Moreover,

    Basically there are only two sites in Fremont that connect with BART; Warm Spring and Central Park. Both more “green” than Pacific Commons due to BART.

    Warm Springs has nothing else to provide but angry neighbors (including NUMI) -with limited access and two freeways nearby that would be impacted; with no land secured at this time?

    Central Park is next to a CBD that the City has been trying to “make” for fifty years – with tons of parking already there – and more planned in the future via parking structures. The actual location of the stadium shown in the montage takes up a very small fraction of the Park.

    By the way; I’d say using up prime industrial lands in Pacific Commons is the “nuttier” idea. That industrial land is where the best jobs come from AND industrial lands in Fremont generate the largest percentage/amount of retail dollars in the City!

    The A’s in PC will use up the exact amount of Industrial lands that the General Plan Update Industrial Study said would be needed be the year 2030.

    To my way of thinking, not having an open public discussion about the trade-offs of all three sites is not in the publics interest!

    Let the people of Fremont decide if they want the A’s – after all alternative are fully vetted. What’s to fear?

  • http://www.bacon2008.com Vinnie Bacon

    I am thinking green. I’m thinking of the beautiful, green park that we have and how this plan would radically change things for the worse.

    I don’t see the existing area providing the parking that would be required. You’d probably end up with something like the situation at Washington Hospital where fences have to be put up to prevent people from parking in certain spaces.

    You argue that “I’d say using up prime industrial lands in Pacific Commons is the “nuttier” idea.” Well, I’m sure this deal would come with the same provision that we allow the Wolffs to develop 3,200 new homes in ‘prime industrial land’. People always seem to forget about the 3,200 homes that we’d need to provide public services for. And yes, these homes will help contribute to the projected deficit of industrial lands that you refer to.

    I would be glad to see this go for a vote. I’m convinced it would fail miserably. You have businesses and residents protesting every place they’ve tried to put this. I wonder why that is.

    You don’t build a downtown with a ballpark. I challenge anyone to show me an example where this has worked. You build it with businesses. Our Council should do the hard work of business development that other Silicon Valley cities have done. Thinking that a ballpark will somehome solve our historic lack of business development is not sound planning.

  • La Boca

    Fair enough Vinnie, I just respectfully disagree.

    A while back on the History Channel there was a show on stadiums starting with the Roman coliseum and ending with a photo montage of the new A’s Baseball Stadium and “village.” The show ended with an interview with the designer of the new A’s stadium saying that he “wanted to build an urban ballpark.” An “urban” ballpark? Go figure! On bay fill – now zoned for industrial use!

    By the way; if you don’t want anything in Central Park – how did the Senior Center, Water Park, Police Station, Library, City Hall (at one time), and a golf course get there? I’d take the stadium over golf!

    Let the people of Fremont decide after fully investigating all three locations (only two of which connect with BART)!

  • La Boca

    P.S. Do you realize that the projected growth for Fremont between now and 2030 is 40,000 more people. Good planning requires think through where those peoples should go. The CBD next to BART makes sense to me.

  • Tom Meyer

    if I remember correctly when the City Hall was built Central park was not fully developed. I remember as a kid going there to fly kites and it was basically a swamp.As far as the Water park goes it never should have been built. It will be a haven for gangs from the Centerville and Irvington districts.Then let’s add a ballpark with Bart access to bring down gangs who would like expand they’re terriorty. Good thing we alread have enough police to handle all of this

  • La Boca

    Tom,

    You remind me of an Ohlone indian when the first Spanish arrived in the area. (-;

  • Tom Meyer

    I live in the middle of gangland here in Irvington. Fences,homes and sidewalks are tagged. If you would like to come thru this neighborhood and count the red hats one night I will give a guided tour. I also was the field director for FBI baseball at Harvey Green school and the North Fremont gangs would tag our sheds, snack bar and score booth reguarly as ashow of force. This is a real problem. Both of my sons have bee approached by these idiots. And don’t get me started about Robertson High School down the street from me

  • Marty

    Why not an A’s Stadium at Vargas Plateau?

    Perhaps the EBRPD can donate it as a thank you gesture for all those measure AA votes from Fremont.

    This would serve Wasserman’s desire to mare both the natural and civil landscapes of Fremont in one shot. Vargas Rd can become Vargas Parkway, 6 lanes wide.

    Who’d oppose? A few ranchers? Pfft.

  • La Boca

    Tom; my heart goes out to what you are dealing with. Please don’t think that this debate – in my opinion – diminishes the importance of your concerns and the importance of coming together to deal with the situation. Having said that, sometimes positive influences come from strange direction. More “eyes on the street” may help a situation depending on who those eyes are (i.e., people who care like you!)

    Marty; I feel the same way about Bay Wetlands as you do about Vargas Plateau!

  • bbox231

    If we had leadership possessing the skills necessary to accurately project (and thus negotiate) the future economics of this project – maybe a discussion of where to put it would be worthy of consideration. But, since our city management has demonstrated an inability to accurately forecast tax revenues from year to year – I personally have my doubts.

    If we had leadership possessing the skills necessary to identify a concise set of community needs and work with a developer to deliver on even a basic retail vision, a discussion of where to put this considerably larger project might be a good next step. But, since we’ve had such difficulty with delivering even much smaller projects (“Centerville” – for example) – I personally have my doubts.

    If our instfrastructure was not already under considerable stress and strain (see “roads” and “emergency services”) I might think we could handle the incremental needs of ballpark attendees.

    Since we haven’t been able to demonstrate a reasonable mastery of these basic management skills, how can a discussion of “where” to place an MLB ballpark even begin ???? I’m certainly not going to simply take Mr. Wolfe’s “plan” as gospel. . . . he’s a business man and will posture from a position of his own benefit.

    Our city will need management skills at least equal to that of the Wolfe camp to effectively plan, negotiate and deliver a very large project.

    Not NIMBY – - heck let’s build a ballpark- my question continues to be WHO amongst us possesses the skills to plan and negotiate same ?

  • Doug

    I lived in Greenville, SC from ’70-’72, then headed to CA. We visit family yearly and I am always impressed by the transformation of downtown Greenville. It was basically abandoned with the typical sprawl that occurs as the population base grows.
    The city’s master plan adopted in 1970 has been highly successful, including a downtown ballpark for its Red Sox farm team, the Greenville Drive. The ballpark seats 5,000 and you can take in a ballgame for $8 reserved, $5 on the grass lawn in left field.
    The ballpark sits in the West End Redevelopment area at the end of Main Street, which is lined with sidewalk dining spots, parks, museums, galleries, etc. You can hop a free trolley on one end of Main and ride to the ballpark. Now this is city planning at its best. Check it out yourself. http://www.greenvillecvb.com/

  • Gus Morrison

    I am amused with commenters who seem to have just oome on to the scene. From the early days in Fremont, there was a Civic Center concept and a Central Park concept. They are separate areas. The Civic Center includes the Library, old City Hall, Police Station, etc. The park is adjacent and contains the recreational uses (including the dreaded water park.) They are separate.

    Maybe this whole ball park thing will go away now that the NFL is trying to build a stadium which will house both the 49ers and the Raiders. This makes a great deal of sense, since each stadium is used about 12 times a year for each team. They build this and Oakland/Alameda County can rebuild the existing stadium for the A’s.

    I remembered the requirement per capita for parks, 5 acres per thousand people. We have 213,000 now, so we need to have a minumum of 1065 acres of park. We have just a bit more than that, as I recall.

    As to the special status for land designated for parks, the 40 acres Catellus gave to the city as a condition of development for Pacific Commons was once to be designated as “city park”, but it was decided that would make its use too restrictive, sot it became simply referred to as city lands.

    And, remember Central Park was funded first by a city bond issue with the voters approving a park, not a ball park and parking lot. There might be an argument that such an idea would need to go on a ballot.

    Again, a fun discussion, but an idea which cannot ever come to pass, IMHO.

  • La Boca

    Thanks for the clarification on the lands; however, the parking could go in the CBD!

    I agree, let the voters of Fremont decide; after thorough further study of the two more “green” alternatives (per CEQA).

  • Fremont Lifer

    bbox231 is right that City management currently lacks the necessary skill-set to deal with the ramifications of the proposed stadium project.

    I just can’t resist the temptation to remind everyone that City residents had the opportunity to have a mayor who posesses the skills and experience that we need in these circumstances and the voting public chose not to re-elect him. Now we’re reduced to reading his comments on this blog, rather than hearing them at Council meetings.

    They say voters get the representatives that they deserve. Those of us who knew better still suffer the consequences of “low-information voters”.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, this whole thing is a discussion based on BS. People who work in the planning field thought this was a crazy “are you out of your mind” idea. La Boca are you assuming the public is to stupid to not figure out this is a bad idea. Why are you suggesting building a massive stadium in the middle of a beautiful park, across the street from 2 special needs schools, on streets that are already crowded and the list can go on. You are too self absorbed to see that people weren’t trying to block your idea, they were trying to keep you from looking like an idiot. Good job on losing all the respect you had.

  • La Boca

    Anon; 10:07 AM

    You might be surprised who in the planning field (and City) do think that this is a very reasonable idea that should be discussed and analyzed. In fact, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exploring reasonable alternatives is required.

    As for the “crazy” part; I think the discussion above and over at the New A’s Ballpark Blog prove that people have for the most part not reacted that way. Rather it has been a long overdue discussion of the trade-offs of three alternative locations – two of which connect with BART.

    As for my being “too self absorbed” – I am absorbed in promoting a public participatory process for the people of Fremont on such an important issue for the future of Fremont.

    Unfortunately, the tone and tenor of your post above is all to reflective of the top management within the City which is not committed to a transparent public process.

    Again, let the people of Fremont decide if and where they want the A’s and a Ballpark Village. Frankly, I think they’re now beginning to have the discussion that they deserve and will be better informed on the important trade-offs on the big issues facing Fremont – like whether they want a CBD and where the next forty thousand people over the next twenty years are going to go.

    The attempt to stifle discussion on this process of siting the A’s is no different than the previous and ongoing attempts by city management to stifle a transparent process on the Centerville site, Capital Avenue plan – and/or obfuscating the loss and importance of industrial lands in Pacific Commons.

  • Anonymous

    Glad I can create a “tone of upper management” hope you didn’t bet any money on it. Also glad you finally created your discussion (please go back through and re-read everything and most people aren’t agreeing with you – fantasy time over) I wish you would 1)be open minded that maybe your way wasn’t the only way and 2) would give people a choice that doesn’t destroy a beautiful park. I wish you’d listen and I wish I could still respect you.

  • bbox231

    We invite and encourage Boca to respond to the previously sited objections and concerns regarding inability of existing city management to facilitate, plan for and negotiate a plan of this magnitude.

    We invite and encourage Boca to indicate why we should expect the A’s to be any better a “neighbor” than they have been in Oakland. Specifically – why would we expect that areas in and around the proposed ballpark would not, in time, begin to exhibit qualities found in the A’s current home ?

    I invite and encourage Boca to offer thoughts as to why Fremont should not imagine that the A’s will be looking for another real estate development opportunity 5 or 10 years from now and who will be holding the bag on the Fremont stadium remediation at that time ?

    All just part of an open and tranparent discussion as you suggest !

    Your inuendo that those with a contrary position to yours somehow seek to stifle discussion is not substantiated anywhere in your accusation – and is typical of the other anecdotes tossed about by pro-A’s factions in an attempt to discredit those who express concern about our community.

  • http://noasws.blogspot.com NoAsWS

    La Boca, under CEQA, only the “No Project Alternative” is mandatory. They could consider “scale down” or “off-site” alternatives, but NOT REQUIRED.

  • La Boca

    Thank you for the correction NoAsWS.

  • La Boca

    Bbox231;

    For yours and the City’s benefit – with appreciation; Prologue @

    http://forums.insidebayarea.com/topic/a-real-plan-b-for-as-in-fremont