Marin City Park Renovated


By Cam Vernali

Marin City renovated its George “Rocky” Graham Park this past July with brand-new amenities. This park is the only community park in Marin City.

“I think it’s great that they’re giving all of these kids an opportunity to get out more near their new school, it’s definitely a huge step for the environment,” junior Misbah Mamoon said.
“Not to mention that it’s just a continuation of the major upgrades in Marin City after the MLK and Bayside schools [were completely redone].”

According to the Marin City Community Services District (MCCSD) website, the State of California Parks and Recreation Department issued MCCSD to renovate the  park. The community was without a park for almost 20 years prior to this renovation, since the park became an illegal dumping ground and was shut down in the 1990s. Residents in Marin City signed a petition to restore the park in 2009 and were given a $5 million state grant under AB 31, an act which directs a portion of park funding toward park improvement in communities that the state deems the most worthy.

“The Park is part of a collective vision for a healthier, more vibrant Marin City,” said MCCSD chair Nancy Johnson in an official press release. “We listened to our residents who told us they needed a public park as a central gathering place where the community can meet each other, young people can access after-school programs, and adults can take advantage of the exercise equipment.”

Construction on the new park started in August of 2014. The official George “Rocky” Graham Park website recorded updates of the park construction as time went on through both pictures and time-lapse videos. The grand opening of George “Rocky” Graham Park was on July 11. The ceremony had speeches, food, entertainment by the band “The Best Intentions,” and an unveiling of a historical mural that is featured at the park. The mistress of the ceremony was Alecia Reid, a general assignment reporter from KRON-TV/ CHANNEL 4.

The one-acre park includes a central grass turf area with playground equipment off to the side. There is also an amphitheater for community movie nights and performances. Public art, native plants, and exercise equipment are also in the park.

The park is seen as an improvement in the community. The MCCSD website says, “MCCSD is excited to spearhead this community effort to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space for people to enjoy. Community members have played an active role in the planning stages and continue to have a voice throughout the development phases.”

Community involvement can be seen throughout the park in many ways. Community members voted for their favorite mural design, had the option to be on the Rocky Graham Park Community Advisory Committee, and purchased space for their names on the honor wall in the park. The construction contract for the park also had a goal that 30 percent of all hours went to Marin City workers.

The park’s namesake, George “Rocky” Graham, was an influential person in the Marin City community. Graham died in 1978 at the age of 28. During his life he pushed for low-income housing, was a counselor in the Big Brother program, and a big brother in the Operation Give A Damn program, as well as a director in the Summer Youth Program. He also served on the MCCSD Board.

“[The park] is a great example of community members and local government partnering to bring nonprofits, businesses, educators, and health organizations together to deliver on an outstanding vision,” said Marin County Supervisor Kate Sears in an official press release. “It is such a beautiful gathering place for the entire community.”

George “Rocky” Graham Park is located at 800 Block of Drake Avenue in Marin City and is always open.