This year's quick seven month (April-Oct 2003) voyage accomplished the seven seas!!! In this case, the seas actually have the same plural sound of the letter 'C'- and for Wa Sung's voyage, it covered the seven areas being: Community service & support, City Council, Collaboration, Commandment, Commitment, Care, and Chinese Culture.
In April 2003, a group of past presidents (Jeanne Chiang,Wayne Fong, Karen Dea) along with current President Harry Greer met with a compelling heart for the Wa Sung club to honor the recent death of Wa Sung loyal member Stanley Huey. We arrived with a goal of naming the Lincoln Square 'junkboat' area to be the ' Wa Sung Community Service Club Play area' . This year also marking Wa Sung's 50th Anniversary made it more of a reason to name this park area and for it to represent the club's many heroes of the past ( ie: Stanley Huey) that shaped and made Wa Sung for what it is today. A second goal that tied into the naming of the park was to start a project to help restore the Chinese Junk Boat play structure. After 34 years of great use, what once was a handsome ship has turn to a broken down 'junk boat' and not meeting up to local city health & safety regulations. Prior meetings in the past with the City government informed us of the possibility of closing down the 'junk boat' structure in the near future due to it not being safe and compliant with many areas of City requirements.
As the WS Board approved the two projects: naming of the Wa Sung Community Service Play area and the renovation of the 'junk boat' play structure, the immediate collaboration with the City Council and the City Park & Recreation was underway to accomplishment both projects. Many City of Oakland meetings was attended by us which was the required process for our request for naming the park ( approved by City Council on July 29, 2003) and funding for the 'Junk'boat' restoration project ( approved by City Council on October 21, 2003) . Wa Sung was provided with a golden rod of guidance from many caring individuals that has led toward the success of these two projects. One individual in particular has helped us immensely, Jim Ryugo, from Oakland Park & Recreation. Jim R. and his staff helped us with direction that we followed to the 'T' (ie.- Jim recommended 300 signatures, we got close to 1,000 signatures supporting the 'junk boat' project!) and this was one of the many important elements leading to the Life Enrichment committee & Oakland City Council approval and passage for both projects.
On October 21, 2003 at the Oakland City Council meeting at 6pm, close to 70 supporters comprising of Wa Sung members , community leaders, community organizations and friends attended the meeting wearing red tops to let the city council know that we represented the 'Lincoln Square Tot Lot' project that was asking for funding of $500,000 toward the 'junk boat' project.( This amount was determined as I received guidance from the Trust for Public Land .) Additionally, via email, the City Council received 65 votes from the public in support of the requested funding toward the Lincoln Square Tot Lot! Red signs were made for the supporters to wave and hold up high that read 'Lincoln Square Tot Lot'! Becky Wong coordinated to have 4 Lincoln Square children speak on the safety of the existing play structure during the open forum. They spoke so caring and gave examples of why they wanted the 'junk boat' to be safely restored. Around 10:00pm, our item (#21 ...out of 27!) came up for the City Council to approve/disapprove our request of $500,000. (Earlier the week before, Jeanne and I strategize who the speakers should be and what topics they should cover!) The speakers came to the podium to address the City Council and all did a fantastic job delivering their effective speech toward the support of the funding for the Lincoln Square Tot Lot-Junk Boat project. Harry Greer , President of Wa Sung spoke about the historical accomplishments and Wa Sung's 50 years of strength and the club's involvement with the 'junk boat' 34 years ago; Beatrice Wong from Friends of the Asian Library spoke on the play area's culture and how the senior citizens enjoy the Lincoln Square; Carl Chan from Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce spoke on the community need for the 'junk boat' play area and Becky Wong, teacher from Lincoln School spoke on the health & safety issues and the importance of the availability of the play area for the children and youths as part of them growing up. Each speaker received a thunderous applause by the audience. At approximately 10:25pm, the council approved the $500,000, Lincoln School Tot Lot funding!! Everyone was in disbelief due to the great accomplishment and as we crowded around outside of the council room on the balcony giving signs of relief mixed with such happiness. Jeanne brought out delicious Chinese bows for us to celebrate on!! What a great Chinese way to celebrate!!!
Earlier I mentioned that there were approximately 70 supporters, a BIG thank you goes to the following: Lincoln School Students, Oakland Chinese Citizens Academy, World Journal Newspaper, Henry Chang Jr. Internship program-Christine Chung, Beatrice Wong- Friends of the Asian Library, Carl Chan-Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Becky Wong- Lincoln Elementary School, OASES, Sandra Leong Pike, Valerie Greer, Harry Greer, Jeanne Chiang, Karen Dea, George Wong, Richard Fong, Adrienne Fong, Penny Wong, Wilma Wong, and Bill Sakakura.
The Junk Boat Committee and Board of Directors are now in the process of talking to the City of Oakland about the next steps to renovate the Junk Boat in Lincoln Square. The city department that will be working on the project from this point will be the Project Management Division of the Public Works Department. They will work in conJUNKtion with the Parks and Recreation Department to develop a Scope of Work and budget for the project. This will describe the work to be done on the Junk Boat as well as other parts of Lincoln Square and probable costs. Wa Sung will also be able to provide input at this phase.
Once the Scope of Work and some preliminary sketches or descriptions are written, the City will apply to the State for the actual money. The City hopes that the grant request will go into the State in December, with a response in January. In the spring, the City will contract with a design firm - probably a Landscape Architect - to prepare the drawings and specifications for all the work. The City hopes to bid the project and start construction in the summer. As a rule of thumb, 70 - 75% of the total $500,000 would be available for actual construction costs. The other 25-30% would cover design fees, administrative costs, permits, and other soft costs.
Both of the Council members who were most instrumental in bringing this item to the council expect that Wa Sung will be doing some fundraising for the project. We are trying to get an idea of how much this will be based on the budget and the renovations and improvements that need to be made. Please call Harry, Jeanne, Karen or Wayne if you are interested in working on the Junk Boat Project and the fundraising efforts.