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City and Community Work Together to Build New Mosswood Recreation Center

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Since Mosswood Recreation Center burned down three years ago, neighbors have been organizing and working with the city to build a new center that serves the needs of families and community members at the city park across the street from Kaiser Hospital in North Oakland.

The recreation center at Mosswood Park, builtin 1953, was destroyed by fire in November 2016. Since then, a temporary center has been serving the local community at the park.

The city recently held the fifth of a series of community workshops for the public to give input on what facilities they want to see built.  Phase one of the project, which is the only part of the plan that has funding so far, will be to build the new community center, according to Sean Maher, public information officer for the City’s Public Works and Transportation departments.

The new center will contain a multipurpose room, computer labor, spaces for classrooms, meeting and rental, an innovation lab/maker space and a commercial kitchen, as well as a parking lot to serve visitors.

The ultimate vision for the project, which would comprise the center, landscaping, and other park uses, would create “a vibrant destination for civic, cultural, social, educational, and recreational activities…inclusive of a diverse community of users, universally accessible, flexible in use, and thoughtfully designed,” according to the City of Oakland website.

The city already has on hand $10.2 million to build the center — $4 million from Measure KK, the California Natural Resources Agency and insurance settlement funds. “Fundraising will continue over the coming year to fully fund the first phase,” said Maher.

Staff are saying that the construction could begin as early as March 2022,  he said.

Future phases will require additional fundraising to pay for the construction of a pool and gym. The full proposal also includes the meadow and creek, baseball field and continuing the existing tennis courts at the park.

The final design plan will be based on input from community members and groups, as well as city leadership, the local Recreation Advisory Council (RAC), Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation and others, said Maher.

“The design process places an emphasis on consensus-building among the stakeholders, while balancing maintenance, operations and budgetary needs for the project,” he said.

Alongside the center, plans for the park also feature as a separate project, the renovation of the old mansion —  the Mosswood House. The J. Mora Moss House was built in the 1860s by J. Mora Moss and his wife Julia Wood Moss. The city purchased the building and the park land in the early 1900s.

According to Maher, the city has applied for $5 million in grant funding to renovate the house and is “optimistic about securing that funding.  The renovated building will be used for conferences and seminars.

Community outreach for the project is managed by the city and carried out by the design team: building architects, landscape architects and a community engagement consultant.

Feedback and input can be emailed to mosswood@oaklandca.gov. For project information and updates, go to www.oaklandca.gov/projects/mosswood-community-center

The next community workshop will be  Saturday, March 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mosswood Recreation Center, 3612 Webster St. in Oakland.

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