Nearly 20 years later, Oakland Councilman Larry Reid will begin to see the results of his work.

After years of planning and roadblocks, Oakland broke ground on the East Oakland Sports Center on Monday.

Reid began working on the project in response to what he called “the vision of his community” when he was Chief of Staff to former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris in the early ‘90s.

“It’s something the community has wanted and I’ve been frustrated, like the community has been frustrated, in making this a reality,” Reid said in a phone interview on Monday.

The  $24 million public sports facility will feature a natatorium with an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, an aerobics and dance studio and a multi-purpose room/learning center, according to a city press release. The center will be open year-round.

“Right now, there is no place in Oakland for young people and families to go,” Reid said.

“Anyone in the City of Oakland can use this; it will be a very unique place for families to take young people, and for seniors to just enjoy themselves.”

Reid pointed to the work with consultants and the political process of getting his colleagues to buy into the project as part of the long process.

“The members of the city council bought into the vision that my community has been working on for a long time,” Reid said. “Without their support, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Funding sources include:

  • Measure DD – Oakland Trust for Clean Water and Safe Park Bonds ($10 million)
  • Measure WW – East Bay Regional Parks Regional Bonds    ($6 million)
  • Measure I – Oakland General Obligation Bonds for Parks     ($3.1 million)
  • State Proposition 40, 2002 Resources Bond Act ($3 million)
  • Oakland Redevelopment Agency ($2 million)

Construction Company will lead as general contractor for the project.

The new site will include “green” features of thermal solar panels, high-efficiency mechanical systems, recycled building materials and storm water runoff treatment, according to the release.

James Spencer can be reached at