On the agenda: more pickle madness, urgent issues in the urban forest, and a nepotism discussion

On the agenda: more pickle madness, urgent issues in the urban forest, and a nepotism discussion
A large eucalyptus tree fell on Hilltop Drive in March of last year. Photo/Linda Hemmila

The Urban Forestry Advisory Committee, which is tasked with “aggressively expanding the City of Richmond’s tree canopy,” will share its concerns and recommendations with the council during the March 26 meeting.

The committee has three recommendations to communicate at the meeting, starting with a hazard tree mitigation budget and plan.

The committee called for establishing an annual financial plan to address tree-related risks and their mitigation strategies. 

According to the presentation, tree hazards pose risks such as damage to public and private properties, obstructed roadways, disruptions in utility services, increased insurance premiums, and the possibility of devastating injuries or loss of life.

Known hot spots in city council districts

Areas requiring prioritized hazard tree care.

The committee also wants to increase staffing in the Parks and Landscaping Department by adding a three-person tree management crew.

According to the presentation, the Parks and Landscaping Department cannot meet all current demands due to insufficient staffing and overwhelming requests for service. The demand for tree services comes from various sources, including resident complaints, hazardous trees, and preventive maintenance.

A monthly standing report of tree losses, additions, and maintenance summary from parks and landscaping was suggested for consideration.

UFAC plans to compile and provide an annual “State of the Urban Forest” report as a resource for the council and the community at large, which will include a discussion of trees planted and removed, tree canopy expansion, and community outreach programs, with additional information on native tree species proliferation and progress toward tree equity. 

Craneway Pavilion pickleball update

The agenda also promises an update on the Craneway Pavilion and the proposed use by the city attorney. The Craneway Pavilion pickleball venue recently opened with great fanfare and protest over the weekend. 

Locals protest opening of Craneway Pavilion pickleball facility
Richmond residents, dressed as Rosie the Riveters, protested the opening of the Craneway Pavilion pickleball facility at today’s opening day event. Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon representing women who took on factory and shipyard jobs during World War II. Pickleball is a sport involving two or four

The Craneway Pavilion was previously advised by the State Lands Commission that its proposed modification of use to member-only pickleball was inconsistent with the Public Trust Easement. A modified proposal is now being undertaken, according to an agenda report.

Pickleball players enjoy the new Craneway Pavilion Pickleball facility on Saturday, March 23.

Councilmembers reportedly received inquiries from residents regarding the new proposed use at the facility and have requested a public report.

According to the report, the city attorney has discussed several alternative approaches with the leaseholder that could be implemented through a compliance agreement. Terms of the agreement may include: 

a. Develop more specific agreements on sponsorship and criteria for events. 

b. Mutual participation in programs to encourage visitation, including rebirthing of victory ship and other objects complimenting Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center

c. Facilitate Ferry Terminal Development

d. Development of Community Benefits

e. Acknowledge that current use is temporary as other long-term uses are explored

f. Other provisions which may be developed by dialogue of the parties

Held over items from the last meeting

The Safe Organized Spaces contract amendment and the nepotism item are back on the agenda after being continued from the previous meeting. Councilmember Doria Robinson had questions about the nepotism agenda item and pulled it from the consent calendar during the last meeting.

Richmond City Council battles nepotism
Soccer fields, farmer’s market, more money for SOS, a public land disposition policy, plus two council members battle nepotism on the March 19 Richmond City Council agenda. A draft Soccer Field and Park Amenities Assessment presentation is back on the agenda. The item was continued from the last meeting.

For SOS, the amended contract would increase their agreement to provide encampment support services, including outreach, showers, laundry services, and job opportunities for unhoused residents, to $2,202,108.82.

City staff recommends approving the contract amendment extending the term through June 30, 2025, to be paid with funds from the City unhoused interventions funds and an allocation to be determined from the Encampment Resolution Funding Program.

Subscribe to Grandview Independent and help fund more news coverage of Richmond!

Grandview is an independent, journalist-run publication exclusively covering Richmond, CA. Copyright © 2024 Grandview Independent, all rights reserved.

Read more