By the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group
People’s Park is at the center of fifteen other officially recognized city landmarks, which collectively are a de facto historic district. They represent the heritage of the 1960s and the context of the larger theme of a century of town/gown relationships. Berkeley became a major target of the New Right conservative backlash with Ronald Reagan promising to “clean up the mess in Berkeley.” The preservation of the community-built park is again threatened by UC Berkeley because of the pressures of over-enrollment that has engendered overreach through university expansion into Berkeley and an attendant drain on city resources. UCB proposes to cover People’s Park with concrete housing monoliths, possibly to be erected by a private firm that will profit from student occupants. This would destroy both a historical legacy and much needed open space when reasonable alternatives are available. If Berkeley all but invented the sixties, surely the city and its university should be able to commemorate that decade by preserving People’s Park as the heart and soul of a vital historic district.