Neighborhood Welcome Sound Wall

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City of Berkeley Sound Wall
Corp yard soundwall construction
is underway on Bancroft
Neighborhood welcome sound wall
Will Harper,  Berkeley Voice, September 21, 1995

It took eight years, countless hours of lobbying and $145,000, but residents in the West Berkeley neighborhood surrounding the city's corporation yard are finally getting a soundwall to reduce the noise from the site.

"After eight-and-a-half years of pretending, avoiding, stalling, foot dragging, equivocating., the city has started work on the corporation yard soundwall," neighbor Toni Horodysky told the City Council recently. "Well, finally it's going to happen and we're excited," she said.

Construction of the $145,000 concrete-block soundwall began early this month and is expected to be finished by the end of November. Neighbors consulted with city architects on the design of the wall, which will include a vine covering to make it blend in better with the surrounding residential area.

"This is so exciting," said Public Works Director Vicki Elmer.

"It's something the community has wanted since 1987 and it finally has come to fruition.
I think you can really thank the neighbors for their persistence."

The 4.9-acre corporation yard on 1325 Bancroft Way serves as a maintenance and fueling station for the city's fleet of 500 trucks, specialized construction equipment and cars.

The yard has been at its current Site since 1916 and a residential neighborhood gradually grew around it. With the residential zoning of the area the corporation yard is the largest non-conforming land use in the City of Berkeley.

According to neighbors, in 1987 the city applied for a use permit to make changes in the yard such as demolishing a paint storage building. To the surprise of many neighbors one of the changes made was moving the gas station from the middle of the site to within 100 feet of nearby homes.

drawing of corporation yard sound wall 1989
The sound wall as proposed by the City of Berkeley in 1988

The city promised to mitigate the impacts of the changes by constructing a soundwall, neighbors say. According to Elmer, the city had even budgeted $80,000 to build the wall in the '80s. But plans to build the wall were later abandoned after Michael Brown took over as city manager in 1989.

In protest some neighbors hung signs saying, "Keep the promise, build the wall." John Thomas, who lives across the street from the yard, credited Vicki Elmer for making the soundwall a reality. Elmer took over as public works director in 1993.

Corporation
Yard Wall
Bancroft Street (1995)

banner on house "Keep the Promise Build the Wall"  
Banner draped West Berkeley corporation yard area residence...
"KEEP THE PROMISE BUILD THE WALL"

It took eight years, countless hours of lobbying and $145,000, but residents in the West Berkeley neighborhood surrounding the city's corporation yard are finally getting a soundwall to reduce the noise from the site... Construction of the $145,000 concrete-block soundwall began early this month and is expected to be finished by the end of November. Neighbors consulted with city architects on the design of the wall, which will include a vine covering to make it blend in better with the surrounding residential area. Excerpt from Neighborhood welcome sound wall, Will Harper,  Berkeley Voice, September 21, 1995

corp yard wall corp yard wall

"Mending Wall" by Robert Frost (1914)
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down
(Perhaps Mr. Frost never had the opportunity to live next to a public works facility like Berkeley's corporation yard, located in a residential area, R2. In this particular case "Good (soundwalls) fences make good neighbors"... BC )

newNEW Gate for City Corporation Yard
August 14, 2006
new city corpyard gate
The City of Berkeley is pleased to announce that the Public Art Selection Panel has chosen Eric Powell as the artist to design and build the access gates along the Bancroft Way frontage for the City owned Corporation Yard at 1326 Allston Way, Berkeley. This public art project is intended to lessen the visual impact of activities of the Corporation Yard for the neighborhood and passersby. Powell has created numerous beautifully designed and crafted large-scale metal works throughout the Bay Area with commissions including Golden Gate Park’s Conservatory of Flowers.

The Selection Panel, composed of a professional metal artist, a Civic Arts Commissioner, two community members, a staff person from the Corporation Yard, and the City of Berkeley Disability Coordinator convened on September 12, 2006. The panel thoroughly engaged the artists in their presentations and posed a range of comments from the functionality of their proposal to the strength of the visual elements in transforming the site.

Eric Powell’s proposal incorporates symbols, such as railroad and farming tools, tying the narrative of the design to the history of the Strawberry Creek Neighborhood. Powell speaks of gates as “the focal point of the front of a building or grounds.” In addressing the goals of this public art project, he clearly intends the Corporation Yard Gates to be a positive “buffer, not a barrier” to the activities in the yard and to focus the design to inspire interest in the diversity and history of the neighborhood and community. The proposed gates are deeply representative of the site, complementing and enhancing its environment, and uses rich, tactile surfaces to invite interaction and examination from all who pass by.


Finalists’ Artwork Chosen for Corporation Yard Gates

The City of Berkeley is pleased to announce that the Civic Arts Program’s Public Art Selection Panel has chosen Eric Powell, Bryan Tedrick, and Vickie Jo Sowell as the three finalists to complete a professional model of the City owned Corporation Yard Gates. Each finalist or pair of finalists will be given an honorarium to create the model, which will be on display for public view. The finalists’ models for the Corporation Yard Gates will be displayed for public view from Monday, August 28, 2006 through Friday, September 8, 2006, from Noon-2pm, in the Cypress Room located on the 1st floor of 2180 Milvia Street.

Thirteen artist teams applied to the Artwork for the Corporation Yard Gates Call for Artists, which was opened to the public in March of 2006. A Public Art Selection Panel convened on June 29, 2006 at the North Berkeley Senior Center and carefully reviewed each artist application. The Selection Panel is composed of a metal artist, a Civic Arts Commissioner, two community members, a staff person from the Corporation Yard, and the City of Berkeley Disability Coordinator.

The group of finalists represents a well-balanced and diverse selection that encompasses the range of talent, esthetics, and mastery in large-scale metal art. These metal work artists possess distinct styles in gate design and insightful approaches to interacting with the Corporation Yard site and the surrounding community. All this translates into exciting possibilities for remarkable designs and ideas that will help inspire the neighborhood’s identity and pride.

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FINALISTS' MODELS FOR THE CORPORATION - PRESS RELEASE

YARD GATES PUBLIC ART ON VIEW

Berkeley, California (Monday, August 14, 2006) - The City of Berkeley is pleased to announce that the Civic Arts Program’s Public Art Selection Panel has chosen Eric Powell, Vickie Jo Sowell, and Bryan Tedrick as the three finalists to complete a professional model of the City owned Corporation Yard Gates. The finalists’ models for the Corporation Yard Gates will be displayed for public view August 28, 2006 through September 8, 2006, Noon to 2:00 pm. at the City of Berkeley Civic Center, first floor, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley. Please note that the City Center is closed on September 4 for a public holiday.

The viewing public will have an opportunity to comment and state their preferences in written form for submission to the Selection Panel. After interviewing each of the finalists and previewing their models, the Selection Panel will make its final determination to forward to the full Civic Arts Commission for a final vote.

Thirteen artist teams applied to the Artwork for the Corporation Yard Gates Call for Artists, which was opened to the public in March of 2006. A Public Art Selection Panel convened on June 29, 2006 at the North Berkeley Senior Center and carefully reviewed each artist application. The Selection Panel is composed of a metal artist, a Civic Arts Commissioner, two community members, a staff person from the Corporation Yard, and the City of Berkeley Disability Coordinator.

This group of finalists represents a well-balanced and diverse selection that encompasses the range of talent, esthetics, and mastery in large-scale metal art. These metal work artists possess distinct styles in gate design and insightful approaches to interacting with the Corporation Yard site and the surrounding community. All this translates into exciting possibilities for remarkable designs and ideas that will help inspire the neighborhood’s identity and pride.

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