East Palo Alto, Calif. (Aug. 21, 2019) On Saturday, Woodland Park Communities unveiled “Bridge Pop Park,” their second new pop-up park on the west side of East Palo Alto since Sand Hill Property Co. bought the over 1,800-home apartment complex in 2016. In collaboration with the local community, the public park was designed by LMNOP Design Inc. with SITELAB urban studio.
“We’ve heard over and over again from residents that there needs to be more publicly accessible open space on the west side where families can gather and kids can play,” said Mike Kramer, Chief Investment Officer of Woodland Park Communities. “We are proud to offer the second pop up park to-date since as part of our ongoing efforts to improve quality of life for tenants.
The park unveiling program also featured Assemblymember Marc Berman and East Palo Alto City Councilmember Ruben Abrica, who is also a Woodland Park resident. The unveiling featured food by Tacos El Toluco, a dance performance by EPACENTER Arts, and face-painting and games for kids. Over 600 community members attended the event.
“This is what happens when a community gets involved and says, this is what we want,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman, who represents East Palo Alto. “None of this would be possible without the investment of Woodland Park Communities – thank you for listening to the community, and responding by creating such a dynamic open space for everyone in the community.” Assemblymember Berman presented a proclamation from the State Assembly in recognition of the event.
“I want to thank Mike and all of the people that work at Woodland Park for having done this,” said Councilmember Abrica, “the way these things happen is that we work together… Woodland Park, after listening to what people wanted, decided to build the park.”
In December 2018, the East Palo Alto City Council recognized Woodland Park Communities with a proclamation for “its effort to improve relations and services to tenant families.”
Bridge Pop Park features a walking-biking track, specifically designed as a place where kids can safely learn to ride a bike. The park can accommodate large community events and has places for food trucks and market stalls. The park name and components were created in collaboration with existing residents
Bridge Pop Park aims to build on the success of the first pop-up park unveiled last October, “Boom Pop Park.” Boom Pop Park features free programs for residents including fitness classes put on by the East Palo Alto Family YMCA, and Fresh Approach gardening classes. Both Parks were designed and built by LMNOP Design Inc. with SITELAB urban studio as the design advisor with community engagement conducted by Studio O and Emily Weinstein Consulting.
“In collaboration with our partners and community residents, we designed Bridge Pop Park to inspire interactions within the community through fun programming and to help build a neighborhood gateway park at the new pedestrian and bike bridge that connects to greater East Palo Alto,” says Amit Price Patel at SITELAB urban studio.
The opening of Bridge Pop Park comes about two weeks after a City Council study session on Woodland Park Community’s housing proposal, the Euclid Improvements. The plan would replace buildings between 50 and 100 years old containing 160 rent-controlled homes with brand new deed-restricted rent-controlled homes at the same rent for the same tenants, along with 445 new homes onsite. The study session featured multiple tenants praising the “zero-displacement plan.”
Woodland Park Communities is owned by Sand Hill Property Company, a local, family-owned real estate company based in Palo Alto with a local focus and long-term perspective. In their three-and-a-half years of ownership, Sand Hill has increased parking, improved the security coverage, hired more bilingual staff, opened a resident services office and two technology centers, opened two pop-up parks, and hosted more than 30 community meetings and listening sessions.