ALAMEDA -- Funding sources for most of the approximately $3.3 million needed to build a new public park and sports fields along the Oakland-Alameda Estuary have been identified, the City Council heard Tuesday when it got an update on the project.

Known as Estuary Park, the property on Mosely Avenue just east of the former Alameda Naval Air Station totals eight acres and was once used by the military for athletics.

The plan calls for the future park to be split into two equal sites and developed in two phases.

The west side will have synthetic sports field, while the eastern side will have a community park that will serve future neighborhood residents, including those who will live at Alameda Landing near College of Alameda.

"This is just a great benefit to Alameda," Vice Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said. "I am happy to see this in the (city's) West End, which has not always been well served."

Amy Wooldridge, the executive director of the Alameda Recreation and Park Department, said sources for about $2.5 million for the project have been identified.

The amount includes $400,000 in private donations and $500,000 from Measure WW, which voters in Alameda and Contra Costa counties approved in November 2008 to support the East Bay Regional Park District.

An additional $1 million will come from the city's Housing Authority, Wooldridge said.

City officials hope to gather the approximately $800,000 still outstanding from grants and developer fees, as well as offsetting the balance through pro bono work by contractors, Wooldridge said.


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After that money is secured, city officials will seek bids for the work, she said.

The council took no action Tuesday, when Wooldridge offered an update on the project.

Along with a synthetic baseball diamond for young people with special needs, the western portion of the park will have a lighted synthetic rectangular field for soccer, lacrosse, rugby and football. It will be the city's first lighted synthetic turf field and the city's first regulation-size football field.

The eastern four acres will feature playgrounds for children under age 5 and for those between 5 and 12 years, picnic areas, basketball courts, an open lawn and a dog park.

The synthetic surface of the baseball diamond will make the field playable for young people in wheelchairs and walkers. It will also include striping in the outfield so that it can be used for soccer matches.

The effort to build the diamond comes as the Alameda Little League is kicking off a Challenger baseball league, which is an established national program model for athletes between 4 and 18 years old who face mental and physical challenges.

Ron Matthews of the Alameda Youth Sports Foundation said the local Challenger program is now open for registration. The goal is to have games at Rittler Park next year and at Estuary Park in 2016.

Currently, the city does not have an all-weather lighted field, which local youth sports advocates said puts pressure on them as they compete for space. They have campaigned for additional fields for years, Mayor Marie Gilmore said.

"This really has been a long time coming," Gilmore said. "It goes to show what can be accomplished when people refuse to give up."

Estuary Park is anticipated to annually serve at least 165,000 Alameda youth, parents and residents.

Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.

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