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April 24, 2018 > Construction begins on Cherryland Community Center

Construction begins on Cherryland Community Center

Submitted By Kerrilyn Ely

After nearly a decade of planning, a community center across the street from Meek Park in Cherryland is finally rising from the ground. Leaders from Alameda County, the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District and Cherryland Community Association broke ground April 17, 2018 on the long-envisioned Cherryland Community Center at a two-hour ceremony held at the future Boston Road entrance to the $22 million facility.

"The day we have long anticipated is here," Cherryland Community Association President Cindy Towles said at the ceremony. "This groundbreaking, this milestone, is a landmark occasion because it brings us one step closer to our origins as a close-knit community and will be a much-needed focal point for our civic, cultural and recreational uses," she said.

The 17,500-square-foot center near the corner of Boston and Hampton roads will house multi-use and movement rooms; a pre-kindergarten activity room; a reading room that will be operated as an Alameda County Library Annex; and a community room with a catering kitchen and adjoining courtyard that can accommodate more than 200 people. Nearby Meek Estate parking lot will be reconfigured and expanded as part of the project to accommodate up to 104 cars for special events at the community center, an 85.7 percent increase from the 56 parking spaces there now.

Alameda County will pay to construct and furnish the Cherryland Community Center, and the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District will pay up to $1 million to expand the Meek Park parking lot. The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District will use money from East Bay Regional Park District Measure WW to pay for the parking lot expansion.Ê

Five local artists also have been hired to create new public art pieces for the new facility, including small, framed artwork that will be displayed in the center and a larger piece that will be incorporated into the building's canopy.

"This combination of indoor community space and outdoor areas at Meek Park will create a set of gathering spaces that can be used year-round," Hayward Area Recreation and Park District General Manager Paul McCreary said at the ceremony. "It's a unique opportunity for us to connect this multicultural community through recreation, educational and social programs and just relaxation," he said.Ê

The Cherryland Community Center is being built on two residential properties that were once part of the larger Meek Estate. The Alameda County Community Development Agency bought the long-vacant, Hampton Road parcel for the Cherryland Community Center in 2009, while the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District bought a neighboring parcel on Boston Road in 2013.

Alameda County will construct and own the Cherryland Community Center, while the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District will operate, maintain and manage programs at the facility.

The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District will hold community meetings and conduct an online survey over the next few months to determine what programs residents would like to see in the new facility. Survey and meeting details will be posted on the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District website.

"Any time you get two government agencies together, as well as all of their departments, commissions and processes, it can become difficult to move projects forward, but I've been truly amazed at the partnership that we've had with Alameda County to move this project forward," McCreary said at the ceremony.Ê"The strength of this partnership between Alameda County, the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District and the Cherryland Community Association has made this desperately needed facility become a reality," he said.

The Board of Supervisors in June 2013 earmarked $90 million for redevelopment projects in Alameda CountyÕs unincorporated communities, including the Cherryland Community Center. The earmarks were tied to residual property tax revenues returned to local governments after state agencies used the money, once allocated for redevelopment agencies, to pay mandatory financial obligations, such as existing bonds.

"We really appreciate the entire county family helping us with all of these projects because here, in the unincorporated area, we are the government, and I really pride myself on saying, 'We shouldn't be telling other jurisdictions how to run their business in Alameda County, if we can't do things right in the unincorporated communities,'" Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley said at the ceremony.

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