A dedication ceremony attended by approximately 200 people in early March marked the official unveiling of the East Bay Regional Park District’s new Tidewater Boating Center. Located in Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, a narrow strip of land that juts into the San Leandro Bay between the Oakland Airport and the Oakland Coliseum, the boating center is open now and offers numerous recreation opportunities in an area of the city otherwise marked by pollution and heavy industry.
The boating center is centered on a complex of three new buildings at the park: one an open boathouse and gym that houses the Oakland Strokes, a youth rowing program designed for middle- and high school students from throughout the East Bay that previously operated out of Jack London Square; one the new home of the East Bay Regional Park District’s Recreation Department, which was previously tucked away at Redwood Regional Park; and one a storage facility for the rec department’s canoes, kayaks, tents, bicycles, and other equipment.
Tidewater also includes a new dock and ramp for boats, canoes, and kayaks — the park’s third. It opened in January and was immediately popular among kayakers, said park district spokeswoman Shelly Lewis. Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline also includes picnic sites, restroom facilities, and a paved section of the San Francisco Bay Trail that is heavily used by bikers, joggers, and dog walkers. Now that its offices are on-site, the park district plans to offer a number of organized recreation programs of its own at the park including kayaking, biking, and canoeing.
Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline was created in the 1970s, and the Tidewater facility area was later purchased by the park district in the 1980s for conversion into parkland in lieu of a proposed truck terminal site. Funding for the new facilities included a $3 million grant from California State Parks, $48,500 from the California Department of Boating and Waterways, and $2.4 million from the East Bay Regional Park District’s own Measure CC, passed in 2004. The Tidewater Boating Center is located at 4675 Tidewater Avenue in Oakland.