EALI Phase II
We have initiated Eden Area Livability Initiative (EALI) Phase II with oversight from the Blue Ribbon Steering Committee (BRSC) as the visioning groups defined key issues, ideas, and possible solutions. A Community Charrette was held on November 16, 2013 with over 400 participants who came together to vote on goals developed by the visioning groups. To implement the priority goals voted by the community members, we will be forming 5 working groups.
Below is a list of the 5 working groups, descriptions of each group created by the visioning group's members, and the priority goal(s) that will be accomplished by the working groups.
Agriculture and Environment Working Group
Farming, gardening and ranching are an important part of the heritage of the Eden area and continue to contribute significantly to the County's environment, economy and community. Various forms of agriculture have different needs that must be met with policies, programs and regulations to avoid negative impacts on agricultural operations. Public outreach, education and environmental stewardship will maintain agriculture in both urban and rural areas, while improving and strengthening the agricultural foundation of our community to provide a healthy environment. We recognize the difference between open space and undeveloped agricultural lands and that both provide critical wildlife habitat and visual resources for the Eden Area. Our goal is to foster and promote the positive impacts that strengthen the economic benefits and sustainability of agriculture. Through these efforts, the county will drive investments to enhance our communities, improve the environment and contribute to the value of important open space. All wealth comes from the land.
Priority Goal: Provide educational opportunities in the school system and surrounding community about agriculture (farming, ranching, and equestrian) while seeking park and open space opportunities in the urban built out environment.
Economic Development Working Group
Strong business activity creates dynamic, healthy communities. The Eden Area-in population the fourth largest community in Alameda County-has enormous economic potential and waits for discovery. The Eden Area needs a business friendly, streamlined and focused approach to attract new business and support existing business. Business enterprise will benefit our community with local jobs, increased tax revenues, and improved availability of goods and services. We possess a rich network of commercial corridors that provide significant opportunity for local entrepreneurs and their businesses-a competitive advantage that can drive economic growth and build community. We must act. The following goals and suggested projects reflect this vision and promote economic development for a wholesome, thriving Eden Area.
Priority Goal: Promote private economic investment in Eden Area and attract both businesses and customers.
Education Working Group
- Children, education and schools matter.
- Educated citizens are the basis of our democratic society.
- Eden Area residents recognize that robust, successful schools are an essential component of strong, vibrant communities.
- Students will thrive when given every opportunity to reach their potential.
- All students will be educated and supported by caring and committed staff.
- All parents must be engaged in every aspect of their child's education.
- We must take the initiative to provide the resources to make this happen.
Priority Goal: Advocate and provide avenues for increasing resources and opportunities for all schools and students in the Eden Area.
Governance Working Group
As unincorporated communities we do not rely on our own, local entity to deliver government services; rather, we rely on Alameda County to establish municipal laws and provide services like planning, policing, and community infrastructure such as roads and street lights. Representing about nine percent of Alameda County’s 1.5 million residents, about 130,000 people live in the unincorporated “Eden Area” communities of Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, and San Lorenzo, located in central Alameda County. Counties are created by the state and are not designed to efficiently deliver municipal services to large, densely populated unincorporated areas like the Eden Area communities. Services and programs for the county at-large normally dominate the priorities of a county. Municipal services to unincorporated communities do not. We observe the following:
- Residents of Alameda County’s unincorporated communities encounter county administrative and governance structures not exclusively focused on the unique needs of their communities.
- Residents deserve responsive municipal services that reflect the priorities and desires of the unincorporated communities.
- Alameda County should seek to implement governance structures that maximize unincorporated community self-governance and participation.
Priority Goal: Enhance local self-governance.
Public Safety and Realignment Working Group
The EALI Public Safety and Realignment Visioning Group (PSVG) believes that residents have the right to feel safe, live safe, and move safely throughout the Eden Area and we believe these things can be accomplished through policy, planning, increased community involvement and awareness.
We are challenged by a disproportionately high number of residents in the criminal justice system. With the transfer of many individuals from State prisons to Alameda County supervision, we have a choice to let them find their own way straight or we can give them the integrated support has proven to be successful across the country. We believe the safety and well being of the community can be improved through the development and implementation of re-entry resources to reduce the cycle of re-offending.
The PSVG regards transitional housing as having an important role in our communities. With AB109, we know that many more group homes will be opening to accommodate the numbers of formerly incarcerated persons released into the Eden area with no family or housing. In order to ensure safe and effective housing services to clients, we desire a conditional use permit all group houses that it is retroactive to ensure all existing group homes comply. Having a formal review process will give us more peace and value to our neighborhoods.
Also under the aegis of public safety is the right of residents to move safely in the Eden Area. The PSVG believes this can be achieved through community identified public works projects. We believe that sidewalks, bike paths, and traffic-calming devices can improve the safe movement of residents around the Eden Area. The EALI Public Safety visioning group understands the diversity of the populations that live in the Eden Area. We recognize the strengths of the Eden Area communities and that each community is unique. We have in common, the need for improvements in public safety to enhance the quality of our lives in the Eden Area.
Priority Goal #1: Establish guidelines and protocols regarding licensed and unlicensed housing establishments such as group homes, care facilities, half way houses, and other therapeutic treatment facilities to ensure quality of service and safety of the community and program residents.
Priority Goal #2: Prevent crime and reduce recidivism.
Additionally, two EALI Phase I priority projects were not completed during Phase I and is now being undertaken during EALI Phase II.
Phase I of the EALI process identified improving community health as a key goal. Through the Community Health and Wellness General Plan Element process, the Ashland and Cherryland community members will examine factors that affect their social and physical well-being, including physical activity, healthy food, bicycle and pedestrian safety, air quality, healthy housing, preventive health care, homelessness, public safety, and others. Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors will adopt a General Plan Health Element that contains priority goals, policies, and actions to improve public health and quality of life in the Ashland and Cherryland communities.
Community Center in Cherryland
This Center would be a safe and accessible space for community members of all ages and from all walks of life to congregate and participate in meaningful and fulfilling activities. This space would provide a venue for community members to build social connections, participate in enriching cultural activities, build life skills and have fun. The community center could potentially be a home base for a family resource center, health services, child care, youth programs, and a job training program. Cherryland does not have a community center of its own, unlike the other larger communities within the unincorporated area. A thriving community center in the Cherryland could be connected to other community institutions to bring even more resources to residents.