After waiting more than a decade for a neighborhood park, one Summerset resident grew so impatient with the ongoing delays that they wrote "in our lifetime?" on a "coming soon" sign posted at Summerset Commons.
The much-anticipated park with paved walking paths and a five-acre working vineyard was celebrated by more than 50 residents of neighboring Summerset III and Summerset IV when it officially opened this week. Amid the rolling vineyard with 6,600 grapevines of Malbec and Petit Verdot varietals proven to thrive in the soil, there are 16 benches, shade structures and interpretive signs about the vineyard and its harvest, which will begin in 2015. Native grasses will also soon be planted there.The Rev. Leslie Harrold, who lives in Summerset, performed a benediction or blessing of the park at the unveiling Friday morning. He said that it will be a place of activity, reflection, beauty, repose and appreciation.
"This blessed park is God's footprint upon our community," Harrold said. "This is a blessed place."
The economic and housing downturns were part of the reason for the city's delayed plans to build the 10-acre park along Fairview Avenue at Baldwin and Regents drives. Ultimately, the Brentwood Parks and Recreation department used funding from the East Bay Regional Park District to pay for the construction.
"The grapes are growing on the vines and I can't ask for anything else," said Summerset resident Ernie Rodrigues. "Summerset
After growing restless over the park delays a couple of years ago, a group of 15 to 20 Summerset III residents organized and proposed this unique "passive" park plan to meet their needs. The design matches the existing agricultural mix at nearby Trilogy.
"When the grapes start growing, it will be a gorgeous view," said Summerset III resident Al Agcaoili. "We didn't want anything that would attract vandalism or loitering. We wanted a neighborhood park for the neighbors."
Although it will take a few years for the vineyards to produce grapes for bottling, city officials have said that the earnings from the annual fall crush will go back to the city.
"Please don't eat the grapes and don't take a lot of grapes for making wine, but, if you do, call me," Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor said.
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