In 1937, Jacob and Annie Albert conveyed nine acres of property by deed to the City of San Rafael for use as a neighborhood park. Over the years, Albert Park underwent improvements and additions including: two ball fields, a stadium, four tennis courts, two playgrounds, a picnic area, the San Rafael Community Center, a formal park entry, the Marin Bocce Complex, Parkside Children’s Center, and parking facilities. When the Parkside Children’s Center was constructed, one of the park’s playgrounds was replaced with a gated playground designed to serve the Parkside students during weekdays and the public during evenings and weekends. Within the first year of operation, the Parkside Children’s Center playground was closed to public use due to vandalism. Currently, only the pre-school age playground adjacent to the Community Center is open to the public.
In 2015, the Parks and Recreation Commission conducted a community-wide outreach to determine community priorities for park improvements. The highest priority was a new children’s playground. The project was then recommended to City Council for funding using San Rafael per capita funding through Measure A (Protect Marin Parks, Open Space, and Farmland) as well as the Building and Parkland Dedication Funds. In June 2016, City Council approved the project in the City’s 3-Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for Fiscal Year 2016/17 through 2018/19.
In May 2016, the B Team group was formed by parents and business owners in the Gerstle neighborhood who expressed common concerns for security in Albert Park. This group reported that most residents avoid the park and do not allow children to walk through the area unaccompanied by an adult. They proposed that the City install a new children’s play area in Albert Park that would replace the existing seating area at the B Street entrance to the park, which currently attracts loitering, garbage, and other undesirable activities. The Parks and Recreation Commission met with the B Team in July and agreed to form a partnership for community outreach, design, and fundraising for the project.
In the Fall of 2016, the City elected to hire Abey Arnold for landscape architectural services to prepare any initial site opportunities and constraints report, perform public outreach, and develop two to three design concepts for park improvements. Albert Park Playground was added to the 2016/17 Capital Improvement Program for construction in 2017.