January 17, 2006 > Ardenwood Historic Farm changes set for public review
Ardenwood Historic Farm changes set for public review
Where can you find late 19th century and early 20th century farming operations in the year 2006? For many who live in the greater Tri-City area, a quick answer is Ardenwood Historic Farm. This 200-acre park transports a representation of the 3,000-acre Patterson Ranch - the largest farm in Alameda County - from the turn of the century to the present day.
Purchased by the City of Fremont and operated by EBRPD since 1985, grounds of the park include 100 acres of farm fields, 20 acres of walnut orchards, 35 acres of eucalyptus woodlands as well as one of the few remaining great estate houses, rural environments and working farms in the county. In addition, an archaeological site and Ohlone Native American shellmound was discovered on park grounds. As urban development has enveloped the surrounding area, the park has increased in value as an interpretive preserve and regional cultural resource.
Fans of Ardenwood Historic Farm will have an opportunity at a public meeting on Wednesday, January 25, to view proposed changes to the popular park and comment on a recently released Draft Land Use Plan Amendment for the popular local park. A hearing is scheduled for March or April at EBRPD Headquarters in Oakland. The original plan use document, adopted in 1983, will be updated to include "additional visitor services, facilities and community partnerships."
Cultural and natural resource management programs will continue along with almost 40 capital improvement projects, some funded by outside agencies such as the Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources that maintains the horse-drawn railroad and the Oakland Museum's Best steam tractor engine. A rough cost estimate for EBRPD to implement all priority levels of its responsibilities in the long term plan exceeds $6 million (2005 dollars).
Ardenwood, as a historic resource, will be retained within a "core area" incorporating screening between park uses and maintenance of walnut orchards and eucalyptus groves as habitat for monarch butterflies and raptors. Studies show that more than 100 species of birds nest and forage in the park. Skirting the western perimeter of the park, a multi-use trail, designated "Arden Trail" will be developed with access through a public gate on the western edge of the park. The present park entrance will be redesigned to separate the entrance and exit from the park and build a pedestrian plaza.
The unique horse-drawn rail station will be relocated and narrow-gauge rails extended to include additional stations and destinations throughout the park. An interpretive center and corporation yard for rail equipment will also be constructed. Deer Park is slated for a makeover too. A multi-use pavilion for outdoor and interpretive programs will be built and additional children's facilities will be constructed.
Wednesday, January 25
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Forest Park Elementary School
34400 Maybird Circle, Fremont
Materials are available at the following Fremont locations or at www.ebparks.org.
Fremont Main Library
2400 Stevenson Blvd.
3801 Nicolet Ave.
150 "I" St.
41825 Greenpark Dr.
The public is invited to send written comments to East Bay Regional Park District Planning, Stewardship & GIS Services Department (Ardenwood) within a 30-day review period ending February 10, 2006.