Apr 13 2014

Blair Park: Neglected for Years

Blair Park has long been the stepchild among Piedmont parks and public areas, ignoring pedestrians, dogs, and regular maintenance.


Beautification projects are found in most of our parks and street medians, particularly in central Piedmont, but the most visible Piedmont park, seen by thousands of passersby daily, remains in a neglected state. Piedmont public areas are generally regularly maintained and enjoy swept walkways, weed abatement, and regular tree trimming, while Blair Park has received little attention despite its prominence at an entrance to Piedmont on Moraga Avenue.


For decades weeds have grown uncontrollably, with ivy invading native species. Trees, ill-maintained, have been left to fall apart and present potential hazards to park users and passing vehicular traffic. There are no sidewalks within or bordering Blair Park.  Pedestrians or joggers going to and from upper Moraga Avenue are forced to either dodge traffic, stumble over uneven surfaces, or slog through mud within the park during wet weather. Students residing in the area have no sidewalks upon which to walk.

There is no fence between busy Moraga Avenue and the off-leash dog area in the park to keep dogs or children from running into the roadway.  

Piedmont is currently considering a comprehensive bike and pedestrian plan; the proposed plan offers little to increase pedestrian safety in and next to Blair Park.  The Park Commission, when reviewing the recently approved plan for Blair Park, expressed concern over safe access to the park.

During consideration of a sports complex proposal, many people expressed a love of the natural, open beauty found in the park. Numerous people residing in the Moraga Avenue area requested a well-maintained park with sidewalk access.


Why has Blair Park been neglected for decades?

The answer goes to what propels many park and public projects developed in Piedmont.  Prior to the recently failed proposal to build the imposing sports complex in the park, no organized group had pushed for park maintenance and improvements in Blair Park.  

Many special projects are found throughout Piedmont parks and public spaces that have reaped the benefits of both public and private funding. Friends of Moraga Canyon settled a law suit with Piedmont over Blair Park issues by requiring $15,000 be spent on a plan to maintain and improve the park. In January, 2014, the City Council accepted Phase I of the Blair Park Landscape Improvement Plan by consultant Restoration Design Group and authorized completion of construction documents for solicitation of bids from contractors.  A land survey noting the boundaries of the park is not available. The plan, while approved by the City Council, has yet to be funded.


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