Rockridge residents fixing up ‘gateway’ to neighborhood
on July 11, 2011
Chris Jackson had a stack of yellow fliers in his hand and was standing in front of the smallest booth—really just a poster—at the Temescal Street Fair on Sunday. Jackson was talking to a North Oakland resident about why she should donate her time or money to landscaping an area around the Highway 24 off-ramp and on-ramp on Claremont Avenue.
“This is the presentation when you come off the freeway for Rockridge and Temescal,” Jackson said, motioning to a photograph of the off-ramp that shows patchy grass, dirt and a puddle. “We want it to look better.”
Jackson has wanted to clean up the Claremont Ave. off-ramp —the “gateway” to Temescal and Rockridge from San Francisco, as he calls it—for at least the past 13 years, when he moved to Oakland. But a plan to clean up and landscape the area moved closer to a reality five months ago when Jackson and other area homeowners Holly Drabal and Peter Lund got the OK from Caltrans and the City of Oakland fix up the Claremont Ave. off-ramp. They received $4,000 earlier this year from councilmember Jane Brunner (District 1), which covers Phase I of the project: landscaping and planting 100 native California shrubs. Work started on Saturday and is scheduled to be completed next weekend.
Jackson and a few volunteers were out Sunday trying to raise money for the next two phases of the project: landscaping the on-ramp and possibly planting trees this fall, as well as cleaning up the gravel in two Claremont Avenue medians in between the 24 on- and off-ramp by spring, 2012. Plans for the median include art installations, like a mural or sculptures.
Jackson said funding for the final two phases of the project will have to come from donations from neighbors and local businesses. “It takes the community volunteering to do something like this,” he said. “If we don’t do this, nobody will.”
Julie Jaeger, a Rockridge resident, stood next to Jackson with her own stack of yellow fliers. Jaeger said she came out to volunteer Sunday because she uses the 24 on- and off-ramps, and “I know they look pretty scruffy.”
Jaeger said she hoped that people stopping by would be inspired by their efforts and start their own neighborhood project. “That’s really another value to this,” she said, “getting people to think about their role in their community.”
Go here for more information on the project.
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