ALAMEDA -- Taking ownership of Alameda Point from the U.S. Navy and a deal with the California State Lands Commission that sets the stage for the creation of a public trust along the former base's waterfront were among the achievements that Mayor Marie Gilmore highlighted Tuesday during her annual "State of the City" address.
The decision by the Navy to drop the $108 million price tag for Alameda Point -- hailed as a milestone by city officials when it was announced in September 2011 -- is expected to help jump-start redevelopment, especially as the city begins taking actual ownership of the former Navy base within the next few months.
"We expect to get the deeds for 80 percent of the property in the March-to-June
The California State Lands Commission approved the land exchange at Alameda Point in October. Along with placing tidelands and wetlands into a trust -- a first step toward opening up the shoreline for paths and open space -- the agreement turns over interior land at the former base to the city. The public trust also allows the tidelands and submerged lands off Alameda Point to be developed for maritime use, as well as for habitat preservation and scientific study.
During her talk, Gilmore said city officials have recently kicked off the process to create a draft Environmental Impact Report and a Master
"All of these activities are paving the way for moving Alameda Point forward and getting that first shovel in the ground for redevelopment," Gilmore said.
Faction Brewing will soon open at Alameda Point, the mayor said, and the Artemis Racing Team is using it as a base while it represents the Royal Swedish Yacht Club in the America's Cup.
The past year also saw Alameda Municipal Power celebrate its 125th anniversary, while in July state officials certified the Housing Element in the city's General Plan -- the first time it has been certified since 1981, Gilmore said. As a result of being in compliance, the city is eligible for transportation grants and other state money, Gilmore said.
Contracts also have been ratified with each of the unions that represent city employees, she said.
"For the first time since I can remember, we have all our employees under contract," Gilmore said. "And all of these contracts provide for our employees to share in the growing costs of pensions and health care."
Having employees shoulder more of the costs will help the city secure financial stability, said Gilmore, who pointed out that city leaders balanced last year's budget without cutting services. Another highlight of last year's activities was securing an agreement for an outside manager of the Chuck Corica Golf Complex, Gilmore said.
She also noted that efforts are under way to replace the fire station on Grand Street and create a public park at the former Alameda Beltline Railroad property, and she noted that a Target store is set to open in October.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.