What We Do
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
FODP focuses on three overlapping activities - read on to learn about them!
To ensure that the diverse recreation needs
of the community for an accessible, safe, well-maintained park are met.
Friends of Dimond Park originally began as a small group of neighbors and park users advocating for improved ADA accessibility at Dimond Park. Advocacy is still a large part of the work we do today, along with assisting with park maintenance, and planting trees and plants throughout the park. We meet regularly to discuss issues affecting the park and coordinate our group to address these issues through city channels, such as OAK311, the Park Supervisor, and the Dimond Recreation Center Director. We are also in regular communication with our City of Oakland District 4 Councilmember. as well as reporting needs and concerns to the Park Supervisor, and our District 4 Councilmember. We are fortunate that Dimond Park has a passionate park supervisor working onsite who shares our concerns that Dimond Park is a safe and beautiful place for all to enjoy.
Along with the City of Oakland, FODP works with other organizations to coordinate activities and improvements at Dimond Park, including the Oakland Parks and Rec Foundation, Friends of Sausal Creek, Dimond Improvement Association, and Keep Oakland Beautiful, as well as other community groups.
Some of the bigger issues that FODP has or is actively advocating for include:
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Accessibility
Since our inception in 2016, we have envisioned improved access to Dimond Park for all Park visitors. A report (Dimond Park Pathways Accessibility Evaluation) was done in September 2016 and we recently were the grateful beneficiaries of an assessment of park accessibility done by Claudia Falconer, a local architect with accreditation and expertise in issues of ADA access.
A brief summary of the recommendations of the 2016 report plus Claudia Falconer's recent recommendations follows. Both full reports can be found here:
Recommendations were made for each of the Park's four main entrances, as well as additional recommendations for general accessibility improvements.
*Add at least one designated accessible parking space with direct access to a proper curb ramp.
*Modify existing curb ramps to meet current requirements.
*Repair stair treads and delineate tread edges with a contrasting color.
*Install handrails in the center of staircases.
*Replace damaged/missing trench drain gates.
*Install a bicycle friendly pathway to allow bypass of stairs.
*Install new concrete sidewalk to allow access to tennis courts.
Dimond Avenue Entrance
*Evaluate access routes from AC Transit bus stops, including possible modification of existing curb ramps to meet current requirements.
*Repair sidewalks along Dimond Avenue from MacArthur Boulevard.
*Add at least one designated accessible parking space with direct access to a proper curb ramp.
Wellington Avenue Entrance
*Convert two existing general parking spaces to accessible spaces. Adjust all relevant pavement markings, striping and signage.
*Evaluate and improve the accessible route from Wellington parking to Dimond Park.
El Centro Avenue/Hanly Avenue Entrance
*Paint pedestrian pathway along access road.
*Repair pavement and/or reconstruct roadway to delineate accessible parking spaces.
*Evaluate pedestrian loading/unloading zone immediately adjacent to the upper level of the recreation center - paint and add signage as needed.
*Make all park amenities (benches, play structures, etc.) accessible - by changing pathway material (tamped earth and bark are not wheelchair accessible surfaces), and/or slope.
*Install an elevator in or adjacent to the Recreation Center.
*Paint an accessibility pathway between the accessible parking spaces and the entrance to the upper level of the Rec Center.
*Evaluate and improve the staircase connecting the upper parking lot with the Rec Center and the staircase adjacent to the Rec Center. Stair treads need their edges delineated, and additional handrails may be necessary. The staircase from the back side of the Rec Center down toward the basketball court also needs evaluation - and stair repair, contrasting treads, etc.
*Park lighting should be evaluated.
*Several sidewalk areas within the Park need asphalt or concrete repairs.
*Existing drainage systems and park walls are in need of maintenance and repairs.
We encourage you to consider reporting your concerns with access issues at the park through the OAK311 reporting system. Every voice counts, as the City keeps track of each submission. You can access OAK311 here. For more information regarding ADA: https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/americans-with-disabilities-act-ada-services
Tennis Courts Rehabilitation
The Dimond Tennis Courts were built in the 1930’s. As the result of collaboration among Friends of Dimond Park, City of Oakland, and District 4 Councilmember Sheng Thao, the tennis courts at Dimond Park have undergone a much-needed renovation. This is the first renovation since they were first built. An investment by the City of Oakland of $200,000 has enabled the re-surfacing, as well as the replacement of benches, nets, and fencing at the tennis courts. We ask the community to keep these courts clean of debris and litter. The tennis courts are for all to enjoy. Please…No Skateboarding, Skating and No Dogs allowed. Thank you for respecting our new Tennis Courts and enjoy!
Two access points were frequently used to illegally drive into Dimond Park, which contributed to property damage and illegal activity: the Dimond Ave entry and the upper parking lot above and behind the Recreation Center. The upper parking lot, accessed from Hanly Road/El Centro provides vehicle parking for Dimond Park, the Recreation Cetnter and Lion's Pool. Because this lot was unsecure, the parking lot was often used for after hours for partying, camping and other gatherings. At the Dimond Ave entry, people were able to drive off-road through the Redwood Tree groves and park on the large lawn in the main meadow area, creating a risk to the groves and other park users. These areas have now been secured with gates.
Picnic Table Refurbishment
Many people enjoy picnicking at the park, either with a blanket on the lawn or at one of the three main picnic areas - Sequoia Grove BBQ, Redwood Grove BBQ and Dimond Grove. These group picnic areas, which were likely built in the 1930's, have served the community well but show obvious signs of aging, with damaged and missing boards and benches at all three areas. In the recent past, two of the rotted planks were replaced using FODP funding and labor performed by a volunteer. In 2020, FODP received a grant from the Dimond Improvement Association (DIA) to repair picnic tables in the Sequoia Grove BBQ area. We coordinated with the City of Oakland Public Works Department for this massive job. The DIA grant provided the lumber for replacement boards for tables and benches and the city provided provided the labor. FODP anticipates similar improvments at the Redwood BBQ and Dimond Grove picnic areas over the next few years.
FODP recognizes that the size and age of Dimond Park present many challenges for the city to manage, including taking care of the aging facilities and extensive landscaping. Once upon a time, a large park like Dimond Park would have had a team of dedicated staff to maintain the 13-acre site. Sadly, that hasn't been the case for many, many years. Over the years, the city had had to reduce its dedicated staff to parks, often with staff assigned responsibilities in several parks.
FODP volunteers augment City resources with the sweat-equity landscape maintenance jobs, such as planting and caring for new seedlings, weeding, watering, sweeping and raking. Over the last few years, FODP has prioritized vegetation management for fire prevention behind the Recreation Center parking lot, clearing over 500 yards of hazardous vegetation such as fallen trees, tree litter, ivy and overgrown shrubs.
Volunteers also help keep the park clean from trash and litter. FODP is grateful for the weekly litter pick-ups by the Dimond Improvement Association Beautification Committee, as well as for the volunteers who take it upon themselves to clean up trash throughout the park.
Dimond Park has a wide array of spaces for park users to enjoy and relax, including open meadows, shaded groves of tall trees, riparian habitat along the Sausal Creek walk. There are formal flower gardens at the Fruitvale entrance and two native plant gardens, one alongside the creek walk, the other at the north end of the park near Hanly Road.
Many of these spaces include over-mature and fragile trees, including the Stone Pines on Lyman Hill, which were planted over 100 years ago. Over the last 10 years, the park has lost several large trees, including a majestic Oak tree near the Tot Lot, which had to be taken down for safety reasons. In 2019, several new trees were added to the park, including five Coast Live Oaks planted on Lyman hill. The new trees were planted in collaboration with Trees for Oakland. Each of the trees has been adopted for summer watering by a community volunteer.
Volunteers beautify the Fruitvale entrance to the park, welcoming visitors with an array of colorful flowering plants and shrubs. These plant not only create a pleasant park entry, but also attract butterflies and birds.
The Friends of Sausal Creek Native Plant Nursery provided new native plants for the planting beds along the creek walk in 2021.