On March 6th 2014 TONA hosted a standing-room only general meeting that included a presentation regarding the application by Walgreens
for a permit to develop the property on the corner of Solano and Colusa Aves., the current location of the 76 Gas Station. Kurt Beleck
representing the developer, Agree Realty
, and Michael O'Brien
representing Walgreens presented the pro-Walgreen case, and No Solano Walgreens
was represented by Chris Gilbert
and Mark Delucchi
. Four 5-minute presentations was followed by a lengthy public Q&A session. Laurie Capitelli
, District 5 Councilmember (left-standing in picture) described to a large crowd (over 140 attendees) the process that will ensue. The gas station will be closing, and the developers have applied for a permit, planning to lease the location to Walgreens. In addition to the building, there is an expensive land and toxic soil remediation which must be funded by anyone choosing the location to develop. The current land owners have had the location on the market for two years with no bidders. Although the owners are responsible for the cleanup, they are selling the property “as is” forcing the cleanup costs onto any potential purchaser. The costs are estimated to be $1.5 to $3 million, depending on the potential type of future use, added to the land purchase price, prior to the building of any structure. If no buyer is found that is able to complete the design and development application process with the City, when the gas station closes, the corner property could be fenced and left unused.
Every year for the past 12 years, TONA has honored a local business for helping to make our neighborhood a great place to live. This year we are honoring two shops in close proximity whose owners have brought a renaissance of art to Solano Avenue. Patrick Mercer came to 1537 Solano as the owner of Nielsen Arts four years ago, taking over a framing shop that had been on the avenue for decades. Patrick remodeled the exterior and front “room” to make space for a gallery, where he features shows of local artists—sculptors, painters, photographers, ceramicists, and mixed media artists. Patrick continues to have a framing business, as well, drawing customers who want personal attention and an artistic eye in selecting mats and frames for cherished artworks. And he hosts interns from Albany High at the shop, helping them learn about framing and gallery work.
Tom Taylor opened his gallery Art Thou on upper Solano (the backstage entrance of the Oaks Theater) in 2009 and moved to 1533 Solano in 2012. He features group and one-person shows by emerging and established Bay Area artists, mostly painters, including the naturalist Peter Canty. The building where Tom is located was a dingy eyesore until he meticulously spruced it up inside and out, to create his inviting venue for viewing and buying art.
Tom and Patrick collaborated in launching the Solano Art Walk in June 2013, an evening when all art-related businesses stay open late, offer shows and light refreshments, and encourage neighborhood residents (and anyone else) to browse up and down the street. Turnout was great, and strollers had a wonderful time. Allen Cain, director of the Solano Avenue Association commented that he had never seen so many people on Solano Avenue on a Saturday night in his many decades on this street! The next Art Walk will be in the spring. TONA is proud to give its Golden Acorn Award to these two businesses that have enriched the culture and beauty of Solano Avenue."
Tom Taylor, left, and Patric Mercer, center, receive the annual Acorn Award from Zippie Collins, Vice President of TONA.
Dear TO Neighbors:
Due to an oversight by the TONA board, the new newsletters are being delivered without the usual dues envelopes. We apologize!
Please use your own envelope to send your dues to:
PO Box 7572
Berkeley, CA 94707
Dues (payable to TONA) are $6 single, $10 family, and $4 senior for a whole year.
We welcome additional donations especially for our urn fund in its final stages. If you wish your urn fund donation to be tax-deductible, write a separate check to BPFP, write "TONA urn fund" on the memo line, and send it to TONA, PO Box 7572, Berkeley, CA 94707.
We will also have a table at the March 6 meeting where you can pay your dues and become eligible to vote (and run for office) in the board election at the meeting.
Thank you so much for your support!
TONA will present a forum
March 6th, from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM
This is an opportunity to ask questions and listen to parties involved about the application and process.
Anyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.Speakers
Chris Gilbert, No Solano Walgreens
Kurt Beleck, VP Operations, Agree Realty Corporation
Mark Delucchi, No Solano Walgreens
Michael O’Brien, Community Leader, Walgreens Company
Thousand Oaks Baptist/Presbyterian Church, Colusa and Catalina Aves., Berkeley, CA. Please enter on south side.
The meeting will be preceded by the annual TONA Acorn Award for a business on Solano Ave. and the annual board elections at 7:00 PM. Paid members are entitled to vote.
The next TONA General Meeting will be February 21, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, at the Thousand Oaks Baptist Church. The meeting will feature a presentation from local historian Trish Hawthorne, as well as the Golden Acorn Award presentation and TONA Board elections. Please see the latest newsletter for details
The latest TONA newsletter is now available on the Newsletters page.
The latest TONA Newsletter including details about our upcoming Local Candidate and Ballot Measures Forum is now available on the Newsletters page.
The latest newsletter is now available on the Newsletters page.
The latest newsletter including the announcement for the February TONA General Meeting is now available on the newsletter page.
The October 2011 newsletter is now available on the newsletter page.