June 27th, 2024
Ashland Zócalo: A New Heartbeat for Ashland, California

In the vibrant East Bay of California, the Ashland Zócalo project is more than just the addition of green space, it's a celebration of Ashland's diverse cultures and a testament to the power of community collaboration.  

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Over the past two decades, Ashland’s Hispanic/Latino and Asian populations have grown nearly 70 percent bringing with them vibrant traditions and diverse perspectives. Population growth has also resulted in Ashland being one of the more densely inhabited parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, and one with a dire lack of green spaces for families.  

To help address these space needs, the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD) and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) have been working hand in hand with the community to envision a new green, central gathering place: Ashland Zócalo. WRT was pivotal in helping to secure more than $7 million in Proposition 68 funding to turn this dream into reality.  

A Community-Centered Creation

The development of Ashland Zócalo was anything but ordinary. It was a community-centric process where local voices led the way. Engagement events were conducted primarily in Spanish, ensuring inclusivity and broad participation, which shaped the park into a space that truly represents Ashland’s heart and soul.  

Various local entities such as the Eden Area Municipal Advisory Council, San Lorenzo Unified School District’s Health and Wellness Committee, Alameda County Sheriff Department Recreation Program, and the Ashland Youth Center were involved in the process. These collaborations helped shape the park to meet the community’s needs and aspirations.  

The community’s vision for public art resulted in a beautiful mosaic of recycled tiles that embody sustainability and creativity. The restroom structure, thoughtfully crafted with seating out front, ensures safety and security, allowing parents to relax while keeping an eye on their children. 

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San Lorenzo High School’s Druids Club (motto: “think globally, act locally”) organized a Planting Day. The students, alongside members of TPL, spent an afternoon planting native flora in designated beds in the park. This effort followed thoughtful, dedicated planning in collaboration with WRT.  

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Central to the vision for Ashland Zócalo is the park’s flexible-use plaza, designed to connect seamlessly to bus stops, bike lanes, and accessible parking. Maples, Ginkgos, and Golden Rain were selected for their rapid growth and ability to provide dense shade in the hot summer months, while their sparse branches allow warm sunlight to filter through during the winter, making Ashland Zócalo a welcoming haven all year round.  

Grand Opening

The grand opening of Ashland Zócalo will be held on July 17th from 2-4 PM. This event marks the culmination of years of dedicated collaboration and thoughtful planning, aimed at creating a space that truly reflects the spirit and needs of Ashland.  We’re excited to continue to develop and enhance Ashland Zócalo, ensuring it remains a vibrant and cherished hub for all who visit! 

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