Golden Gate Audubon has successfully opposed the development of the proposed Oakland A’s stadium near Lake Merritt. Lake Merritt has a special place in conservation, as it was the United States’ first official wildlife refuge in 1870. Over 100 beautiful and cherished bird species, including Great Horned Owls and Least Terns, rely on the Lake Merritt habitat.
Cindy Margulis, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society, argues that the volume, trash, contaminants, and lights are among the threats which the ballpark would pose to the Lake Merritt wildlife refuge. Having the ballpark along the Lake Merritt Channel would threaten the wildlife and habitats that Lake Merritt birds need and that local residents love, as well as creating many other economic and social issues for the local Oakland businesses and residents.
Recently, the Peralta Community College District’s Board of Trustees decided to reject the A’s plans for the ballpark near Lake Merritt. A potential low-impact location for the A’s is the existing Oakland Coliseum, especially given that the Raiders and Warriors are leaving. The Coliseum does not present the same environmental, financial, and social hurdles that a new ballpark would bring, and is conveniently accessible by BART and freeways. Additionally, the saved money and time could be used to renovate and upgrade the Coliseum, to specifically tailor it to the A’s and improve the accommodations around the stadium. We hope that the Oakland A’s can find a location in or near Oakland suitable for their needs, but they must keep in mind the significant changes and costs a new ballpark will bring.
By Maxwell Ho