Berkeley Rose Garden undergoes restoration project

Opal Klotz/Staff

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On Monday, the Berkeley Rose Garden, located at 1200 Euclid Ave., held a ground breaking for a construction project to restore the existing trellis and update accessibility access.

The Berkeley Rose Garden restoration project, currently in phase one, started with the demolition of the existing trellis, while phase two — which consists of the completion of the trellis reconstruction and accessibility ramps to the garden — is expected to start some time in 2018. Phase one is expected to be approximately four months.

The garden will remain open to the public as it undergoes renovations, according to John Steere, president of Berkeley Partners for Parks. The Rose Garden Pergola and the pathway underneath, however, have been closed to the public because of safety concerns.

Previous major renovations to the garden were made when the city replaced the rusty “Rose Garden” sign and installed a viewing platform and stairs about a decade ago, Steere said. Costs for the garden’s ongoing rehabilitation are not expected to exceed $391,620 and will be funded by a parks tax, general funds and the East Bay Regional Park District.

At first glance, the garden, which overlooks the Bay Area and the Golden Gate Bridge, appears to be in good shape. Meg Vollmer, a first-time visitor of the garden, did not know the construction project was taking place, but said the overall area seemed like it was very well cared for.

According to Sandy McCoy, a member of Berkeley Partners for Parks, the garden needs to be maintained to meet historic standards and because the trellis, which is made out of wood, is currently rotting.

“It’s an iconic structure and it continues to be an inspiration because it was a Works Progress Administration project,” McCoy said.

Roses adorning the wooden trellis, which gives the garden its iconic look, were removed before phase one of reconstruction took place.

“It broke my heart to see the roses go, but you have to remove it to do the infrastructure,” said Denise Carlson, a Berkeley resident and volunteer at the Rose Garden.

Constructed in 1937, the garden occupies a 3.6-acre park situated between Euclid Avenue and Glen Avenue in North Berkeley. Located to the east is Codornices Park, which is connected to the garden through a pedestrian tunnel under Euclid Avenue.

The sight and colors of the roses, as well as the smell the garden exudes, are gorgeous, noted Sharon Richey, a former Berkeley resident who now lives in Seattle. “It’s my favorite place to come and just sit,” Richey said.

A meeting will be held June 16 at 5:00 p.m. at the Live Oak Community Center to plan future projects and fundraising for the Rose Garden.

Contact Roann Pao at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @roann_pao.