Community members turned out in droves on a beautiful, clear day for the City of Emeryville‘s annual Harvest Festival. The annual event was held in tandem with the official opening of Emeryville’s newest public park that concluded nearly two decades of soil-remediation, planning and construction at the site.
Park Avenue District neighbors have endured nearly four years of construction and were thrilled to finally get to experience the park. The neighborhood had been among the last in the city without a park within a reasonable walking distance (generally considered within a 10-minute walk from one’s home).
The site of the Sherwin-Williams paint factory from 1920 until 2006, it went through years of remediation from over 80 years of manufacturing paints, coatings and pesticides. Plans for the project were approved in 2016 and construction kicked off in 2019. The 500-unit Emery project was among 2020’s largest projects in the East Bay at $200 million in construction costs.
The new park includes 2-acres of open space, a kids play area, public art, a community garden and a half-court basketball court among other amenities and connecting trails.
Council approved the name “Huchiun Park” at the September 26th meeting among a list of 90 names submitted by the public and whittled down by a subcommittee. “Huchiun” is the native word for the land used by the native Muwekma Ohlone people.
Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone spokesperson Corina Gould was on hand to accept the naming of the park that honored her ancestors. For decades, Gould has helped orchestrate the annual Black Friday protests at Bay Street to draw awareness of the history of the land and the plight of Ohlone decedents.
“This is not the end of our work in Emeryville.” she spoke at the event.
The Confederated Villages of Lisjan are currently not a federally recognized tribe.
Above Gallery: Jordan Potier
Vendors on hand for the event included local agencies and a cross-section of familiar Emeryville businesses and orgs including Trader Vic’s, Bay Street, The Emeryville Historical Society and The Townhouse Restaurant among many others.
Winner of the City of Emeryville Harvest Festival “Rottenest Dog – Funniest Costume” competition on Saturday went to “Boba” a 6-year old English Bulldog rescue dressed as Sully from Monsters Inc. 🐶 pic.twitter.com/U7sQsSDARu— The E'ville Eye News (@TheEvilleEye) October 30, 2023
Activities included live music, a pie-eating contest, dunk tank, a variety of kids games and a dog pageant.
With the addition of surrounding 500 housing units as part of The Emery development, the park is expected to get a fair amount of use.
The event seemed to offer a glimpse of what Emeryville aspires to be but has mostly alluded it: A place where families can thrive.
If the city is to ever evolve into a place where families root and not just start their families, they’ll need more spaces like this and more homes to accommodate them. The Emery project is expected to be a catalyst for this vision with 50% of their units including at least two bedrooms per the city’s design guidelines.
Emeryville currently has among the smallest youth populations in the Bay Area as of the 2020 census with a 10.8% trailing only Sausalito. This is likely attributed to the city overwhelming multi-family, rental properties with a high-percentage of these studio and 1-bedroom units.
We know #Emeryville neighbors have been waiting a long time for this (some more than a decade 😐) but the new section of the greenway, dog park, parcourse & 45th St Cut-through are (unofficially) OPEN! (Video 2X Speed) pic.twitter.com/abcsGGy5IN— The E’ville Eye News (@TheEvilleEye) July 21, 2023
The project also fills a large section of the bike/pedestrian-friendly greenway that connects the city diagonally north-to-south.
The city is actively working on an agreement with the Emeryville Community Garden nonprofit to manage the garden and assign plots based on a waiting list.
10/29: This story has been updated to reflect an error distinguishing The Confederated Villages of Lisjan from the Muwekma Ohlone.