The People’s Park Advisory Board is scheduled to meet to hear public comments on a report and the state of People’s Park on Nov. 5. On Dec. 3 the Board will make recommendations to the University of California about the study and future steps.The draft can be viewed at the Web site of Office of Community Relations.It’s not so surprising that some people want change in People’s Park. It’s not exactly the most groomed, family-friendly place.What might be surprising, though, is that the university owns People’s Park. Yeah, we also thought the university only owned manicured lawns and buildings with metal grading that is supposed to look like bamboo.Now, tell us if this is surprising: the people fighting against the university for the fate of People’s Park also list “Saving the Oak Trees at Memorial Stadium” on their agenda.We were also surprised at some of the recommendations people had for the park, as the Daily Planet reports:
“I have said in the past that it would be great to have something small like a cafe to mark the history of the place and have a cup of coffee,”(Board member George Bier) said. “That’ll attract young people.” 

 Then, there is a whole Web site dedicated to “community members who are working towards improving the children’s play area at People’s Park in Berkeley.” Everyone has their own agenda, even the kiddies.And, of course, the University of California has plans of their own. It summarized in a press release several broad findings about the park, which indicate the direction the changes will actually go.

  • There is a broad desire for People’s Park to remain, to some extent, a publicly accessible open space.
  • The park should better fit the needs and interests of the local community and UC students.
  • There is a lack of coherent guiding principles, long-term planning, and programming to anchor the park to the local neighborhood.
  • The park is not an optimal place for providing food and social services.
  • Greater intervention and oversight of the park is needed to make it safer and more welcoming to the broader community.
  • Thinning and/or removing vegetation along the park’s corners and in wooded areas would improve sightlines and provide better pedestrian access points to the park.
  • There should be formal recognition of the park’s history at the site.
  • Image Source: George Derk, Daily CalPress Release: Ideas and reaction sought on report examining People’s Park future [UC Berkeley]University Seeks Community Input on People’s Park Report [Berkeley Daily Planet]People’s Park [Web site]People’s Park News [Web site]Office of Community Relations [UC Berkeley]