A coalition of faith leaders, grassroots advocates, labor representatives and young people called on Tuesday for developer accountability and community participation with the Coliseum City project, which could be built on public property near the two main sports stadiums in Oakland, California.
The group called on the project developer and planners to provide good jobs, access to public transit and affordable housing, according to East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), which participated in a press conference on Tuesday about the topic. The developer is scheduled to speak with the City Council on Wednesday, EBASE said.
If built, Coliseum City would include sports stadiums, hotels, office and retail space and housing. The project received the green light for up to three stadiums, 8 million square feet of office and retail space and 5,750 homes, the Contra Costa Times reported in April when the Oakland City Council approved steps for the development to proceed.
It also would sit near Oracle Arena and O.co Coliseum, which are now home to professional basketball, baseball and football games. The coalition – which is calling itself Oakland United – believes that if the project is done with the community in mind, it would help residents who live in the area, benefit workers in the city and ensure that diversity would continue. Blacks, Latinos and Asians comprise about 70 percent of the city’s 406,253 residents, according to the Census Bureau.
Many residents in this part of East Oakland are concerned about soaring rent and the displacement of low-income families, especially people of color. “The Oakland United Coalition was formed to ensure that the development project include the existing residents and Coliseum workers in negotiations,” the group said in a statement.
For Esther Goolsby, who lives in East Oakland, the key issue is about building a strong community. “This is about creating a healthy community. Health goes beyond just being able to go to the doctor. It’s about having a good job to take care of your family, affordable housing so people have a stable place to live and clean air, parks and sidewalks so that we have places to exercise,” Goolsby said in a statement from Oakland United.
East Oakland resident Johnny Stake, who has worked at the Coliseum for more than 30 years, talked about how expensive housing costs are affecting the community. “People are commuting further and further because they [are] getting pushed out,” he said in a statement.
“But when people can afford to live where they work, it enhances the neighborhood. People have a vested interest in the community, and it builds our people and our businesses up so we have a sense of pride.”
There is a June 21 deadline for a financing plan to be filed, according to the San Jose Mercury News, which reported that hundreds of millions of dollars in financing are needed to build one new stadium.
East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, which is based in Oakland, works on bringing economic equity to communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.