Lynette McElhaney Wants to Improve West Oakland’s deFremery Park

Lynette McElhaney

DeFremery Park, which was the home to the USO for African Americans in World War II, will be receiving a facelift and a makeover of its historic grounds. Friends of deFremery Park held a reception May 3 to recognize McElhaney’s work and last month’s Earth Day cleanup of the park. More than 175 volunteers participated in the cleanup. “I look forward to sharing more about the deFremery Park project with local community members. Earth  (on April 20) Day was just a kick off to a much larger project aimed to enhance the park’s incredible features and to recruit long term supporters to maintain the park overtime,” said McElhaney. There are three phases remaining in the multi-pronged project, including improvements to the picnic areas, lead abatement and new painting of the deFremery House, and the installation of an edible garden. The deFremery House, the large Victorian building on the corner of 18th and Adeline Streets, is an extremely active recreation center and is very regularly rented out for community and private events. “Our children seek beautiful and safe places to play, learn, and grow – especially during the summer months. I’m grateful to our partners on this project, including the City’s Public Works and Parks & Recreation Departments and Rebuilding Together Oakland, who have expedited this effort in order to provide such vital services for our youth,” she said. Many festivals take place in deFremery each year, including the McClymonds Alumni Picnic in late September, the Black Cowboy Parade and the Life Is Living festival in October – all of which draw thousands of participants.
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