East Bay Parks Plans Huge Expanse of Open Space for Former Navy Land

A wide expanse of grassland and rolling hills in Contra Costa Co. will become parkland under a deal to develop the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

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Raquel Maria Dillon
East Bay Regional Parks District Planner Brian Holt and National Park Service Ranger Stephanie Meckler admire the view of Mount Diablo from the highest point of the Concord Naval Weapons Station land that will become a new park.
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Raquel Maria Dillon
East Bay Regional Parks District Planner Brian Holt and National Park Service Ranger Stephanie Meckler admire the view of Mount Diablo from the highest point of the Concord Naval Weapons Station land that will become a new park.
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Raquel Maria Dillon
The Navy used to recharge forklifts for moving munitions in this filthy industrial building. Park planners want to turn it into a visitor's center for the new Concord Hills park.
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The Navy is scheduled to transfer the land to the East Bay Regional Parks District by the end of the year. The new park will stretch from Mt. Diablo Creek in the foreground and the eastern ridgeline south of Willow Pass Road and north of Bailey Road . The bunkers in between existing homes and the creek will become 12,000 homes and millions of square feet of commercial space under the Concord Reuse Project Area Plan. After months of controversy and accusations of influence peddling by the two developers competing for the project, the Concord city council is make a final decision on that project on April 5.
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Raquel Maria Dillon
The hope is that if visitors come for the mountain biking, or bird-watching, or beautiful vistas, they might stop at the visitors’ center for a snack or a bathroom break, and stay for a local history lesson.
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Raquel Maria Dillon
Along the rolling ridgeline, where the green grass frames Mt. Diablo, planners hope to build a backcountry campsite where hardy hikers won’t be able to see any city lights. The park plans call for reusing many of the railroads, paved roads and trails that the Navy used to transport ammunition and equipment for decades. Trails will connect the Delta-DeAnza trail to the east with the Contra Costa Canal trail to the west, making it easy for hikers and bikers to ride BART for a weekend outing.
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Raquel Maria Dillon
Along the rolling ridgeline, where the green grass frames Mt. Diablo, planners hope to build a backcountry campsite where hardy hikers won’t be able to see any city lights. On clear days, the white peaks of Sierra are visible from the ridge. Holt says it’s hard for Bay Area residents to get a handle on the size or scope of the Delta, and this bird’s-eye view will illustrate the Delta’s role in California’s ecosystem.
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Raquel Maria Dillon
The curiously-shaped bunkers housed ammunition. Holt with the Parks District says there are plans to build shady picnic sites, or pop-up art galleries. Some people have suggested wacky ideas like turning them into wine storage caves, or bat habitat.
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Raquel Maria Dillon
Ranger Meckler grew up in Concord and remembers eyeing the bunkers as she jogged around the track at Concord High School, and listening to “mystery trains” go by at night. She says the new park will transform Concord, honor the Port Chicago heroes who stood up to racism and transformed the military, and usher in the future while preserving the past
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