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A small section of land bordering Fontaine Street, between Howard School and the King Estate campus, was made a city park in the 1960s, at the time the two schools were built.  The remaining land that King Estate Open Space now encompasses was in private hands, a remnant of the historic King family estate.  In the early 1980s, a consortium of developers proposed a massive housing development on the ridge line and western slopes. The Oak Knoll Neighborhood Improvement Association (OKNIA), formed in 1982, brought the Oak Knoll, Eastmont Hills, and King Estate neighborhoods together to save the open space.

The combination of strong and unified community opposition and a lousy soils report defeated the housing proposal.  A land trust purchased the land and held it until the city could purchase it.  Many of our neighbors worked with Citizens of Oakland for Open Space (COOS) to pass Measure M.  The KEOS property was purchase with Measure M funds.

Clyde Grimes, a retired architect with ties to Cal, Berkeley, recruited the Landscape Architecture Department to do a master plan for the park as a thesis project.  Cal and the community worked over the course of a year to produce the master plan. The plan was completed in 1995 and submitted to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. It was then vetted by all the City of Oakland departments and passed by City Council in 1998.
Additional OKNIA projects and achievments:
  • 1989--established a Clean Streets Committee responsible for collecting litter on Fontaine Street and Golf Links Road. The commitee communicates directly with Oakland Public Works regarding illegal dumping.
  • 1993--has had representatives working with the Oak Knoll Coalition since the closure of the Oak Knoll Naval Medical     Center to ensure that future development at the site addresses and mitigates impacts on our community.
  • 1999--spearheaded a community petition to alter the municipal code to allow dogs on leash in the Glenn W. Daniel/King Estate Open Space Park.  City Council approved on the conditions that OKNIA provide dog etiquette education, signage regarding dog waste clean-up, bag dispensers, and trash cans.
  • 2000--established a Park Committee chaired by Marshall Hasbrouk, a biologist and specialist in habitat restoration,   which began a program of non-native eradication. That program continues with broom, salsify, Himalayan blackberrry, cardoon, and pampas gress on the current hit list.
  • 2000--participated in a successful challenge to the Leona Quarry development, which led to significant improvements to the hydrology and geotechnical components of the final environmental impact report.
  • 2007--provided a forum and organization for the community surrounding the Holy Redeemer property when its sale was announced.
  • 2009--joined forces with Volunteers for Outdoor California (VOCAL) and City of Oakland Public Works to cut a loop trail on the eastern and western slopes of the park.  Councilmember Larry Reid made a considerable donation to cover VOCAL’s costs.  Hundreds of volunteers from Bay Area high schools, colleges, churches, and the local community spent a weekend creating what is now a wonderful public amenity.  OKNIA neighborhood volunteers now provide trail maintenance as needed.
  • 2014--became a California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation.
  • Over the past 22 years--has hosted District 6 and 7 councilmembers, mayors, chiefs of police, county supervisors, and other City of Oakland representatives in an effort to inform the community.

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Glenn W. Daniel
King Estate Open Space Park

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