by ADRIAN RODRIGUEZ| Marin Independent Journal
After more than a decade of planning, the proposed renovation of San Rafael’s Pickleweed Park has been selected for a $4.2 million boost.
The project, which includes an artificial turf playing field, a new basketball court and more, is one of 16 park projects selected by California State Parks for a federal grant. San Rafael is initiating an environmental study of the project, a requirement before the National Parks Service approves the funds.
“We’re really excited that we’re able to get this funding,” said Catherine Quffa, San Rafael’s library and recreation director. “This is a huge project for the community that we know has been a priority for a long time.”
The park is adjacent to the Albert J. Boro Community Center at 50 Canal St. One of the driving forces behind the project was the need to upgrade the heavily-used playing fields that are closed for six months out of the year for maintenance.
After a robust community outreach effort in 2020, city planners discovered that residents want other upgrades as well.
The entire wish list for the project includes new fitness equipment, a new play structure for children under 5, a gazebo, a mural, backstops for baseball fields, shaded seating, bathroom upgrades, more lights, security cameras, landscaping and added parking.
Aaron Burnett, director of policy and civic engagement at Canal Alliance, a nonprofit serving Marin’s immigrant community, said Pickleweed Park and the adjacent community center are the only major facilities for outdoor extracurricular activities in the Canal area, a neighborhood with more than 12,000 residents.
Burnett said the park has been at capacity for years, and the planned improvements will help increase the volume, and open new opportunities for after-school programs and organized outdoor recreation.
“Canal Alliance foresees this project as being a major boon to the physical and mental health of Canal residents,” Burnett said. “We believe every family and child in Marin deserves equitable access to quality outdoor recreation.”
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