Oakland, CA – The Oakland City Council of the City of Oakland will take up a resolution item on today’s agenda called “Concordia And Patterson Park MiniPitch Soccer Gift-ln-Place” and that’s based on a horrifying staff report written by Oakland Parks And Recreation Assistant Director Dana Riley.
The problem is the Oakland City Council resolution calls for a gift of in-kind services from The United States Soccer Federation Foundation, Inc. and for the Concordia and William “Bill” Patterson park mini-pitch soccer renovation. A total job that comes with a $120,000 grant, but without any requirement to hire local Oakland businesses and allows The United States Soccer Federation Foundation, Inc. to pick the vendor.
The idea seems harmless until one reads the following words:
RECOMMENDATION Staff Recommends That The City Council Adopt A Resolution Authorizing The City Administrator To 1) Accept A Gift Of In-Kind Services From The United States Soccer Federation Foundation, Inc. For The Concordia and William “Bill” Patterson Park MiniPitch Soccer Renovation Valued In An Amount Not To Exceed One Hundred Twenty Thousand Dollars ($120,000); And 2) Authorize The City Administrator To Execute A Contract For One Dollar ($1.00) With Vendors To Be Determined By The United States Soccer Federation Foundation, Inc. To Perform The Services; And 3) Authorize The Work On City Property.
So, basically, the City of Oakland is going to give up city property to an outside organization that will use its own money to build something that, basically, makes it look good, and do so very possibly ignoring Oakland businesses and using outside vendors that don’t have an Oakland address?
Seriously? That’s a gift?
Let’s see, Oakland has how many homeless people who could use a basic, ostensibly well-paying or decent paying job, and yet, the Oakland City Council is being asked by its own City of Oakland staff out of a City Administration that’s supposed to put Oakland first, to accept something that is called a gift, when it’s really not that at all?
This blogger called the author of the staff report to ask why that was written that way, but no return call as of this time.
History Of The Proposed City Of Oakland Parks Project According To The Staff Report
This excerpt from the City of Oakland Staff Report explains the park project:
The Oakland Parks, Recreation and Youth Development Department (OPRYD) received a project commitment from The United States Soccer Federation Foundation, Inc. (Foundation), a non-profit corporation to provide in-kind services for the renovation of the exterior tennis court in Concordia Park located at 2901 64th Avenue and one exterior tennis court in William “Bill” Patterson Park located at 9175 Edes Avenue. The project involves up to $120,000 of in-kind services to convert an underutilized tennis court at each location to a soccer mini-pitch including a new acrylic surface, game lines, tamper proof soccer goals, a windscreen with design from a local artist, and a heritage sign to commemorate the history of the location. In acknowledgement of the gift and commitment to the City of Oakland, the various donors supporting the project will be recognized through placement of logo medallions as depicted in Attachment A, Court Design.
Several City courts were visited and considered before the funder selected Concordia and Patterson parks for the project. The parks were selected based upon recommendations from the OPRYD Sports Coordinator and the Sports Advisory Committee’s analysis of pairing community interest in soccer with spaces that are not being used due to their poor physical condition or lack of community interest in their current purpose. The need for resurfacing of courts across the city exceeds available funding, and the donation activates spaces that would otherwise sit unused. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC) reviewed the project and recommended approval with a request that staff investigate alternate colors for the court surface.
The Foundation developed what is called “mini-pitch” soccer for communities where space is at a premium. The small customized hard-court spaces, perfectly suited for organized soccer programs and pick-up games, provide quality playing surfaces for children and adults. They also transform the look and feel of neighborhoods. The Foundation believes soccer can be the difference between a child who grows up to change the world, inspired by a coach-mentor and encouraged by the community, or one who falls through the cracks. The Foundation’s MiniPitch Initiative aims to install 1,000 new soccer play spaces by 2026 in areas where children don’t have as much access to amenities such as recreational facilities and playgrounds that are abundant in suburban communities.
Serving the role of project manager with preferred vendor relationships, the Foundation forms public-private partnerships to facilitate mini-pitch projects. Larger partnerships in New York and Chicago are in progress, each installing 50 mini-pitches over five years. In 2017, Target Corporation committed to funding 100 mini-pitches over three years. Since that time, the Foundation has partnered with entities in Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Phoenix to install almost 40 new mini-pitch projects in communities.
ANALYSIS AND POLICY ALTERNATIVES
Staff wishes to leverage public and private resources wherever feasible to improve city parks and neighborhoods. The Concordia and Patterson park courts were chosen by the Foundation because of the value the new mini-pitch court will provide to the local community. Poor surface condition, sagging nets, and torn or missing windscreens make play on the Concordia court unenjoyable. While the Patterson court surface is in fair condition, there is heavy community use of the courts for soccer. Installing proper boundary lines, goals and nets on one court will enhance the experience for players. The work to the courts will consist of surface preparation including crack filling and leveling, application of a new acrylic surface atop the current space, painting lines for soccer use, installation of tamper proof soccer goals, and the addition of a fence at Patterson Park to divide the space from the remaining tennis court.
Target Corporation’s community focus is facilitated by the Foundation in creating unique additions to each mini-pitch site. The project includes a windscreen with design by a local artist and a heritage sign to commemorate the history of each space with photos and text. As required, both the windscreen design and heritage sign will be reviewed by the PRAC and the windscreen design will be reviewed by the Public Arts Advisory Committee.
Note that only in the area of an artist is the local Oakland community considered, but not where it comes to actually getting a business paid to make the dang park.
There was a time in Oakland when “hire Oakland first” was a mantra. Today, if staff reports like this are any indication, Oakland’s willing to let organizations take advantage of it, not spending investment money in such a way that it circulates in the Oakland business community.
The resolution need to be amended to explicitly call for Oakland businesses to be employed, whereever and whenever possible to build the park.
But this falls on Sabrina B. Landreth, the Oakland City Administrator hired by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
Just what are you doing? Are you looking out for Oakland?
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media