March 2022 – Big State Grant for Park

The City of Berkeley has been awarded $591,666 for improvements to the fountain area of Civic Center Park through the Caltrans Clean California Local Grant Program. After many years of planning, this will finally provide for installation of the bronze turtles and medallions designed by Native artists for the Turtle Island Monument. It will also make it possible to create a native and drought-tolerant plant pollinator garden with irrigation; install seating on the fountain outer ring; renovate the uneven flagstone terrace; renovate the Peace Wall tiles; and install new benches, signage, and trash receptacles. The fountain is currently used as a super-sized public trash can for trash and human waste, and is a lethal trap for birds. The City annually removes 277 tons of trash and illegal dumping from the park. The fountain water system has not worked in over fifty years. The fountain and terrace area have significant deferred maintenance and non-ADA compliant surfacing. The neglected appearance of this one-time symbol of civic pride scares away thousands of students, workers, visitors, and residents who pass by the park on a regular basis.