Hayward to develop 12 community-led projects

HAYWARD — For a change of pace, Hayward city staff have decided to let residents take the lead in the coming year and develop 12 community-approved projects, including a tutoring program and roller skating event, to the tune of $350,000 paid out of the city’s general fund.

For the program, which Hayward officials call the “People’s Budget,” the city was divided into six areas. People could submit project ideas, and then residents 10 and older voted online and at parks and schools, choosing two top two favorites for each area. About 1,000 residents, or 1% of those eligible, voted, 1%.

“We were pleased with turnout considering this is our first time doing this and the voting occurred in the middle of the current COVID wave,” Mary Thomas, a Hayward management analyst, wrote in an email.

The costs of the projects range from $14,000 to $48,000. Each project will have a lead or team of leads spearheading it. Hayward residents who are interested in getting involved with any of the programs can email community@hayward-ca.gov and they will be connected to the respective project leads. The first of the projects is expected to launch in July.

“Once we announced the projects, we received emails and social media posts of people wanting to be notified when events are happening, and a couple of people have even reached out to see how they can volunteer and help with some of these projects,” Thomas said.

Though the projects have been selected, details are still being worked out in terms of timing, location and frequency.

Sector 1 (southwest) will have a night market, and Palma Ceia Park will be spruced up. The market, which will reflect the neighborhood’s cultural heritage and have local food and entertainment, will be at Eden Shores Park, at 2841 Sea Haven Court. A total of $25,000 has been set aside for the night market, which may be a one-time event or take place several times. Palma Ceia Park, 27679 Melbourne Ave., will receive small upgrades such as park benches and public art.

Sector 2 (south) will have a street food bonanza and a roller and inline skating event. The street food bonanza will be a festival allowing local businesses to compete with their most popular street food dish, with residents deciding the winners. The roller and inline skating event will be a partnership with Avanta Boot Labs, a Hayward business. Whether it will be a pop-up or a long-term, sustained event has not been decided. Time and location of the events also have not been determined.

Will Murillo, who runs Avanta Boot Labs along with his wife, said they wanted to give back to Hayward after receiving a city grant during the pandemic that helped them keep their doors open. They plan on matching the $48,000 that they will receive from the city for the skate event.

“We always had that in the back of our heads, you know, we gotta do something to give [back to the city],” Murillo said in an interview.

The pair have been living in Hayward for five years and Murillo said he believes Hayward is the most important location for manufacturing ice skates and roller skates because there are so many rinks in the surrounding area. There are over 20 ice skating and roller skating rinks in the Bay Area, though none in Hayward. The city does have some skate parks, however.

“Roller skating is very popular now throughout the nation,” Murillo said. “We want to be the capital of roller skating if possible, let the world know where Hayward is, the amazing things that are in here.”

Sector 3 (northwest) will get Stackfest, a monthly festival that promotes live music from local artists, and a mental health camp for teens.

Sector 4 (center) will start English and math tutoring for English as a Second Language students and expand the Tennyson community farm. This new round of funding will offer a stipend for student workers at the farm and allow for the creation of a community farm stand.

Elena Lepe, an immigrant who has lived in Hayward for over 18 years, has two children in schools and saw the need to help ESL students get tutoring, which is why she applied to the People’s Budget. Her tutoring program her will receive $ 45,000.

“Everyone wants to integrate themselves; they want to learn the language [and] integrate into everything, including education, community and the new system of the United States,” Lepe said in Spanish. “I’m an immigrant and the truth is, it was a barrier to come and look for resources.”

She said she wanted to be a voice for residents who are immigrants like her, hoping to demonstrate that Latinx youth have the talent to get educated and go to college.

Sector 5 (east) will have tree plantings and begin a small community garden with raised beds in a yet-to-be-determined local park.

Sector 6 (north) will begin a Hazel Garden community connect program, where residents will host free community events such as movie nights, and form a community space at the Sun Gallery that will include a 3D printer and vinyl cutter for residents to use.

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