UC Berkeley Begins Fencing Off People's Park For Housing Aft

As a staff of law enforcement officials in riot gear stored an eye fixed out within the predawn darkness, UC Berkeley building employees closed down Historic Folks’s Park early Wednesday, remodeling an emblem of the Nineteen Sixties counterculture into housing for college students and the homeless. Step one of planning.

The college started motion in the midst of the night time as a result of the park’s redevelopment, whereas supported by each the college and the Metropolis of Berkeley, has lengthy been strongly opposed by park supporters. They see the positioning simply south of campus, the tall home for a group of uninhabited folks, and the positioning of free meals for many years as sacred group grounds.

Certainly, as the development equipment proceeded after 2 p.m., the Twitter account “Protection Folks’s Park” issued a urgent call employees to go to the sector. “We’d like assist,” the tweet learn. “Please come.”

Activists additionally summoned park supporters an assembly For the park beginning at 5 pm

The scenario was largely calm on Wednesday morning, however earlier than that UC Berkeley police arrested three folks for allegedly interfering with building work, mentioned Dan Moguloff, a spokesman for the college.

Harvey Smith, president of the Folks’s Park Historic District Advisory Group, mentioned his group plans to ask a courtroom to place a keep on the demolition as quickly as doable.

UC Berkeley and the Metropolis of Berkeley proposed redeveloping the park in 2018, calling it a First Nation plan to construct long-term supportive housing for homeless folks on college land. The college will even construct 1,100 items of badly wanted pupil housing.

“The venture will protect greater than 60% of the positioning as regenerated inexperienced house, and can embody a monument to the park’s historic significance,” the college mentioned in an announcement.

4 teams filed swimsuit in opposition to the college’s plan, together with two organizations – the Folks’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group and Make UC a Good Neighbor. They argued, amongst different issues, that the college had different choices for creating housing and had not studied them sufficient as required by the California Environmental High quality Act.

Alameda County Decide Frank Roche issued a provisional ruling late Friday that UC Berkeley may start clearing up Historic Park and start web site work. He made that ruling official late Tuesday, and inside hours, the college was gone to start work.

Folks’s Park was born in 1969, when the college introduced plans to develop the land, which is about 4 blocks south of the Berkeley campus, east of Telegraph Avenue.

Folks crowd the Berkeley lot that will turn into Folks’s Park on Could 12, 1969. Contributors degree the bottom with rakes, shovels, picks and different instruments and beautify previously vacant heaps.

(WS/Related Press)

Angered by the proposed improvement, a whole lot of individuals dragged sod, bushes and flowers to the vacant web site and declared it a Folks’s Park. In response, UC put up a fence. The elected president of the coed union urged the gang on campus to “take again the park” and greater than 6,000 folks marched on the telegraph to take action. Violent clashes ensued, wherein one individual died and a number of other folks had been injured.

Embraced by many Berkeley residents as a metropolis establishment, others noticed the positioning as a terrifying and unsafe place for close by residents. The park was added to the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations in Could, however as soon as improvement was opposed by Berkeley Metropolis Council, the present council is supportive of the college’s plan.

In recent times, and particularly throughout pandemics, the park turned a campsite for the homeless. Working with the town and non-profit teams, the college supplied transitional housing to park residents for a 12 months and a half, in addition to meals and social providers.

Some folks will be seen tenting within the park on Monday mornings, however the quantity was a lot decrease than in earlier months.

The Instances’ Stuart Leavenworth in Berkeley contributed to this report.

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