OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A week after the Oakland A’s announced their preferred new stadium site on land that is now the offices of the Peralta Community College District, some area residents told KPIX 5 Tuesday they were not thrilled by that news.
“There’s going to be a giant stadium staring us in the face. And again, we’re just afraid the whole learning environment will change,” said Laney College librarian Evelyn Lord.
Opponents held a small protest on Tuesday, saying the new stadium would disrupt the learning process and could one day possibly end up eliminating Laney College altogether.
“We believe that ultimately this is gentrification, ok? And they are trying to uproot our institution,” said Laney College English teacher Roger Porter.
As land values around a new stadium would rise, they say the cash-strapped community college district may have a hard time resisting the sale of more of its land to private speculators.
It is the same fear that was expressed a few blocks away in Chinatown, where most residents live at or below poverty level.
“Rent is gonna significantly and dramatically increase,” said Anya Huang of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “And if they can’t afford it they’re gonna be forced to move away or become homeless.”
Over the years, Laney College has been named as a good site for a ballpark, but it turns out the A’s haven’t even asked the district if their land is actually available.
They sent this letter to the district outlining their interest in the property last Tuesday, the same day they announced their final decision to the public.
When asked how the A’s could select the site when they didn’t even know if the community college district would sell it to them, Peralta Community College District spokesman Jeffrey Heyman replied, “You’d have to ask the A’s that question. As I said, we got the letter of intent on Tuesday. We’re looking at it. No decisions have been made.”
KPIX 5 tried to ask the A’s but got no response Tuesday. Meanwhile, as the focus of the new stadium shifts to this site alone, its neighbors are wondering if they have a future here at all.