A delighted Jovanka Beckles joined celebratory community leaders who explained the long drawn-out, complicated and challenging process to bring this stunning new complex of 100 one bedroom units into being. “We didn’t displace a single person to build this,” Beckles said. “I kept supporting it for years!”
79 units are already happily occupied by seniors, who have access to a raised-bed garden area in the courtyard for their own gardening, a community room, fitness room, laundry room, a computer room and more. Best of all, the area connects to an ADA-compliant, nearby, green-way that enables residents to shop conveniently.
The jubilant group who gathered to celebrate kept praising each other for their lengthy, committed, devoted, exacting and hard work. Charice Duckworth, Development Project Manager for the City of Richmond gave a shout out to Natalia Lawrence, who started the project. Senior Construction Project Developer, Eden Housing Management, Woody Karp led the group around and they remembered when the site was rubble from row houses and a former nursery originally owned by Richmond Japanese-American residents who were expropriated and interned during World War II.
To honor the Japanese-American victims of eviction and internment, rose stalks and flowers are incised into concrete benches along a parkland walkway and, most touchingly, the concrete sidewalks in one area are imprinted with impressions of barbed wire. Some historic buildings from the old nursery have been preserved and moved adjacent to the Miraflores site, for future possible use as a museum and/or park offices. The name Miraflores also honors the nursery – “Look at the Flowers.”
“More of these affordable housing developments are in various stages of realization in Richmond,” said Beckles. We need more here and all over the state! Once in Sacramento I will push for building hundreds of thousands of units of social housing within ten years. Serious policy planning by state agencies and local governments will be guided by this goal. I will push for state laws to support expansion of community land trusts that can provide not-for-profit, affordable housing.”