The East Bay Regional Parks District board voted Tuesday to approve $8 million to open the 150-acre Bruener Marsh to the public, according to the Contra Costa Times. The marsh is located just south of Point Pinole Park, between the Parchester Park housing development and the Richmond Rod & Gun Club. It used to be home to a radio-controlled model airplane club, complete with a landing field, but East Bay Regional Parks forced them to shut down June 4th. More on that here.
While the existing area of Point Pinole is slated to be part of the “San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail” for non-motorized watercraft (think paddles & windsurfers), there are no plans for any piers at Bruener Marsh – it’s a very shallow location.
Bruener Marsh was once owned by the Bruener family, who started their furniture store empire in Sacramento in 1856. They peaked at 40 locations before declaring bankruptcy in 2004. but are no longer part of the “physical” world – Brueners is now an internet-only operation. The stores weren’t small – the Pacific East Mall in Richmond is located in what used to be a Brueners store – that’s how many square feet they used.
Parchester Village has an interesting history. Temporary housing was built for black workers from the south who came to work in the shipyards during World War II. After the war the housing was torn down, leaving many people with no place to go – white neighborhoods wouldn’t allow black people to buy or rent. A real estate developer named Fred Parr built 400 homes in the hopes of creating the first integrated-by-design neighborhood in the US. Didn’t work. White folk wouldn’t buy. After decades of being almost entirely black, Parchester Village is slowly becoming more integrated, mostly through the arrival of hispanics.
Indian gaming will be coming to the area when construction starts on the Sugar Bowl Casino, on land acquired on the other side of Richmond Parkway by the Scotts Valley Band of the Pomo Indians. While everyone was watching and waiting for the Point Molate casino deal to fall through, the Scotts Valley Pomo’s got their program together, and a 225,000 square-foot gambling mecca with 2,000 slot machines is in the offing. Plans call for a 600-seat buffet and a 1,500-seat events center. According to wikipedia, all 96 enrolled members of the Scots Valley Pomo’s live in Lake County.