For over a decade Greenbelt Alliance has worked to protect 2,200 acres of the East Bay’s former Concord Naval Weapons Station—an area double the size of Golden Gate Park. On July 2, the U.S. Navy finally transferred the land to the East Bay Regional Park District to make it official.
The new park that will be developed will create more ways to get out in nature with new trails and campgrounds. Plans also include a visitor center that will commemorate the Port Chicago explosion of 1944, which killed 320 mostly African-American workers and led to safer munitions practices and desegregation of the U.S. Navy.
The Concord Naval Weapons Station closed in 2005. Soon after, it became clear that initial redevelopment plans were heading towards sprawl. So we, along with several partners, including Community Coalition for a Sustainable Concord, East Bay Housing Organizations, the Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, Save Mount Diablo, Public Advocates, PolicyLink, and Monument Impact stepped in to ensure the full potential of this area was reached to both serve the community and protect critical land.
In 2012 the Concord City Council approved a visionary plan for the area that emphasized smart growth—incorporating walkable neighborhoods near transit with homes that are affordable—as well as preserving 70% of the area for protected open space. But the process to see these plans to fruition has been long—our coalition of partners standing strong to hold both the City of Concord and the developer (Lennar) accountable to the agreed-upon Area Plan.
Now we celebrate. The East Bay Regional Park District’s plans to transform this land into a park for the entire Bay Area to enjoy is a huge win for the region!