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Restoration: Oakland's Cleveland Cascade


The Cleveland Cascade is located in Lake Merritt Park in Oakland, CA. The water feature was designed and built in 1923 by landscape architect Howard Gilkey. In the post World War II period, the cascade was filled in and planted with rosemary, though the irrigation feature was maintained. Two years ago, in a move described as a "guerilla act," neighbors began restoring the water feature to its original design. The early work consisted of locating documentation of the original design (see above) and removing plant materials. The Oakland City Council has allocated Measure DD funding to completely restore the cascade to its "original flowing-water gurgling vitality."

Measure DD (The Oakland Trust for Clean Water and Safe Parks) is an approximately $198,000,000 bond to finance the purchase, construction, restoration, and improvement of recreation facilities, creeks, waterways, Lake Merritt, and the Oakland Estuary. The Cleveland Cascade is one Lake Merritt Park project. Other park projects are 12th Street (restoration of the original scenic boulevard), Lakeside Drive (restoration of the municipal boathouse), and Lakeshore Avenue (daylighting the channel by removing the 14th Street/12th Street interchange). (See Oakland Public Works.)  

The Lake Merritt Park improvement projects have been criticized, especially in regards to tree removals. Officials cite poor physiological and structural and various communities of interest claim that the exisiting trees have social, historical, and ecological value. Here are a few articles reporting on the tree controversy: Group sues to stop removal of Lake Merritt trees Lake Merritt face-lift gathering supporters Lake Merritt tree supporters unmoved by public works tour There are numerous Lake Merritt advocacy organizations including the North Lake Merritt Neighborhood Group, Waterfront Action, and the Lake Merritt Institute.