Given the Oakland budget cuts, we wanted to see how Montclair Park has been faring these days. We checked with Mark Zinns, recreation supervisor, who sounds like he’s managing pretty well in the downturn.
“The plan from the beginning has been to keep programs for all age levels, at all recreation centers in Oakland, operating,” explained Zinns. There are a mix of recreation center activities here, especially dance and art classes. Sports include tennis, t-ball, basketball and hiking, as listed in this schedule.
The funding was cut for Montclair Park and across the Oakland Park system, though. “Because of great leadership by our Director Audree Jones-Taylor, the impact on OPR has been minimized somewhat,” said Zinns.
“We have taken huge budget cuts in the last three months and all parks and recreation centers close at least once a month on mandatory shut-down days. We have also lost several key staff as well as cut back on hours for part-time workers.”
Yet Montclair Park is open and welcomes all comers – especially local teens who are daily visitors. Through the Teen Power Project, Zinns offers “relaxed supervision, equipment check-out and a place for the teens to congregate and socialize.”
“Between myself, my staff and two wonderful parents (Deane and Tamara), we know and interact with most of the teens who come to Montclair Village,” boasted Zinns.
Did you know that Montclair Park was a Depression baby, constructed by the WPA? Thus it only seems right for the Park to remain open for everyone, during this economic downturn.
March 12th Update: The Teen Power Project is seeking to raise $700 to purchase a large tent, a lock box, and an outdoor heat lamp for cooler and wet winter afternoons. To help, please reach Supervisor Zinns at mzinns-at-oaklandnet.com or 510-482-7812.