Oakland wins $9 million grant to start construction of $40 to $50 million Lincoln Community Resilience and Recreation Center

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California Construction News staff writer

A $9.25 million grant has been awarded for construction of a new Community Resilience and Recreation Center in Oakland.

Construction of the 22,000 sq. ft. structure is anticipated to begin in fall of 2024, with a current estimated construction cost of between $40 million and $50 million. It will replace an aging recreation center built in the 1970s, and is designed to provide critical resources to the community during emergencies and disruptions including:

• Cooling and warming respite center

• Clean air center for poor air quality days

• Back-up power from solar panels for charging phones and medical devices during power outages

• Distribution point for emergency information

• A commercial kitchen, restrooms, and showers

Oakland Public Works, Oakland Parks Recreation & Youth Development, and the city’s Sustainability and Resilience Division collaborated with community partners Friends of Lincoln Square Park and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) to compete for funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Community Resilience Centers Program. The program supports projects that enhance emergency preparedness capabilities, particularly in response to climate change.

The increase in space will allow the center to expand on year-round programming, like sports, after-school programs, and classes. Construction of the Center also satisfies a requirement of Oakland’s Equitable Climate Action Plan (ECAP) which calls for the creation of a minimum of three Resilience Hubs by 2030. The city’s Sustainability and Resilience Division is pursuing municipal resilience hubs in West Oakland and East Oakland along with additional resilience improvements at other city buildings.

“I am grateful to the California Department of Food and Agriculture for developing this grant opportunity and to the city staff and community partners whose innovative approach to resilience helped secure these critical funds,” Mayor Sheng Thao said in a statement. “The construction of this facility delivers on a commitment made in Oakland’s ECAP. Resilience Centers like this one will support our frontline communities as they become stronger, more self-determining, socially connected, and successful—before, during, and after disruptions.”

“The design of the new center draws on Oakland’s recent experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, public safety power shutoffs, poor air quality days due to wildfires, extreme heat, and flooding from intense rainstorms,” said Oakland Public Works director G. Harold Duffey. “Flexible spaces capable of accommodating a variety of purposes are crucial for managing large populations during shock and stress events. The new design will significantly expand the number of area residents who can receive services and improve the quality and depth of services provided.”

“As one of the busiest recreation centers in Oakland, the expanded programming, resiliency features, and the addition of a commercial kitchen, broadband service, and showers will serve as an example of the City and State’s commitment to the Lincoln Square community,” said Oakland Parks Recreation and Youth Development Interim Assistant Director E. Harith Aleem. “These improvements also support our Department’s mission to provide best-in-class, relevant, and equitable programs and services while meeting the specific needs of people and communities both at the neighborhood level and throughout the city.”

“We’re thrilled that these funds will go toward rebuilding Lincoln Recreation Center with solar panels, battery storage, greywater systems, and in-language emergency response services to support working class immigrant and refugee communities in times of disaster,” said Shina Robinson of APEN. “Every day, thousands of people come through Lincoln Rec to exercise, attend classes, play basketball, and participate in after school programs. As we face intensifying climate disasters like heatwaves, wildfires, and floods, investments like this strengthen the social fabric of our communities and bring critical resources in times of crisis.”

“This park has served families and strengthened our community resiliency for generations and for the future,” said Tiffany Eng of Friends of Lincoln Square Park. “We are delighted to see the investment and recognition of our beloved park and recreation center.”

The event was attended by Mayor Sheng Thao; Michael Flores, Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; Amaya Lin, Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas; Siew-Chin Yeong, Assistant Director of Oakland Public Works; Felicia Gotthelf, Management Assistant for Oakland, Parks, Recreation, and Youth Development; Gélser Zavala, Field Representative for Assemblymember Mia Bonta; and community partners including Friends of Lincoln Square Park and Asian Pacific Environmental Network.

For more information, please visit the city’s project webpage here.

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