See you on the water
Lake Merritt is historically significant as the United States’ first official wildlife refuge, designated in 1870.
Dr. Samuel Merritt, a mayor of Oakland who owned property at the shore’s edge, was keen to get the body of water cleaned up so that it could become a source of civic pride. In 1868, he proposed and funded a dam between the estuary and the bay by which the flow of water could be controlled, allowing the water level inland to rise higher and become less saline, turning the tidal lagoon into a lake.
Measure DD, a $198 million Oakland City park bond measure, passed with 80% voter approval in 2002. The measure is responsible in part for improvements in and around the lake area by adding park space and altering the infrastructure that surrounds it.
Several sections of Measure DD work were completed in 2008. The Municipal Boat House renovation into Lake Chalet restaurant was completed. Reconstruction of El Embarcadero between Grand Avenue and Lakeshore Avenue was completed. Lakeside Drive from just north of E 14th Street to 19th Street was narrowed from 4 lanes to two and a bicycle lane added. Finally new landscaping along the west side of the lake from 14th to 19th street and the east side from East 18th Street to El Embarcadero were completed. Construction of the replacement of the 12th street dam is among the next improvement projects slated.
What that translates to for us is that Lake Merritt has once again become a great setting for activities on and around the water.