Parks and Green Spaces, For the People and By the People

By Toody Maher

Richmond, CA. October 25th, 2021 — Communities should be empowered to create safe, green, vibrant spaces and parks that everyone can access. Read how a group of citizens pursued this vision, and learn about a $7 million funding opportunity to support park equity and racial justice.

The first time I visited Elm Playlot was on a bright, sunny afternoon in May 2007.

Elm Playlot is a small, one-half acre pocket park in the heart of Richmond, California’s “Iron Triangle” neighborhood. It is one of the few city parks and playgrounds in the Iron Triangle. The park serves a densely populated, diverse neighborhood that I knew was chock-full of children. However, when I visited Elm Playlot that afternoon in May, I didn’t see a single child playing there.

It wasn’t hard to figure out why.


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Harbour-8 Park

How one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s toughest neighborhoods is creating new recreational, health and economic opportunities for its residents.

Richmond, CA. August 9, 2021 — Getting its name from three railroad tracks that form its boundaries, the Iron Triangle section of Richmond, California, has a reputation for being the “wrong side of the tracks.” Poverty, crime, gangs and pollution have held this community back, depriving its youngest residents of safe places to play.

Over the last 30 years, California’s land conservation community has protected millions of acres of forests, grasslands, rivers and working lands that define the State’s natural grandeur and abundance. It is a remarkable achievement. However, as California’s population becomes increasingly diverse and urban, the need to provide accessible open space and safe places to play in communities like the Iron Triangle has become apparent and urgent. Yet, the traditional approach to conservation is not up to this new challenge—a 2015 report by the California Council of Land Trusts noted that: the state’s land trusts generally do not reflect the demographic make-up of California; existing protected lands are not readily accessible to most Californians; and they do not provide the range of outdoor experiences many Californians seek. In short, we have been challenged to find a new approach to conservation, one that marshals our resources, expertise, and funding to create new parks and open space that meet the needs of urban and other underserved communities.


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RICHMOND STANDARD: Groundbreaking celebrated for Yellow Brick Road project in Iron Triangle

RICHMOND STANDARD: Groundbreaking celebrated for Yellow Brick Road project in Iron Triangle

By Kathy Chouteau

Richmond, CA. June 10, 2021 — Richmond officials joined the nonprofit Pogo Park and other stakeholders in the Iron Triangle neighborhood on Wednesday to celebrate a groundbreaking for the long-planned, youth-inspired Yellow Brick Road project, which aims to create a safe pedestrian and bike route in the neighborhood that will connect schools, parks, stores, churches and other key community places. Yellow-stenciled bricks along the route will help designate the path.

Backed by $13 million in funding from the State of California and Caltrans, Yellow Brick Road project transformations will impact 25 intersections in the Iron Triangle, according to organizers, employing procedures to slow traffic, including extended curbs, elevated crosswalks, stop signs and roundabouts.

Other project enhancements will include a “Green Street,” where a six-block area on 8th St. between Pennsylvania Ave. and Barrett Ave. will have 93 new trees to “filter the air, storm water planters to filter runoff water and 11,000 square ft. of planting to beautify a neighborhood that suffers from a critical lack of green space,” say organizers. They pointed to living wage-jobs and opportunities for local residents to develop workforce skills as other project benefits.


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Groundbreaking Ceremony for Yellow Brick Road Marks Milestone Achievement


Groundbreaking Ceremony for Yellow Brick Road® Marks a Milestone Achievement in Richmond

Richmond, CA. June 4, 2021 — The City of Richmond and nonprofit partner Pogo Park announce a groundbreaking ceremony for the Yellow Brick Road® to take place at noon on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 8th Street and Ohio Avenue.

The Yellow Brick Road is a safe bike and walking route through Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood that connects important community assets such as schools, parks, stores, and churches together.

The original idea for the Yellow Brick Road was born in 2009 when youth from Iron Triangle participated in a summer program that challenged them to dream up solutions to problems that plagued their community. As an answer to high levels of gun violence, blight, dangerous streets and speeding cars, the youth proposed stenciling yellow bricks across roads and on sidewalks to create a designated safe bike and walking route through the heart of their community.


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