Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Oakland City Council President Larry Reid, Oakland Parks and Recreation Director Audree Jones-Taylor, Raiders Hall of Famer Jim Otto and the Raiderettes cut the ribbon at the East Oakland Sports Complex. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Yesterday, the East Oakland Sports Complex opened to the community after years of fundraising, planning, and construction. Oakland Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson, Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask, Raiders Legends Jim Otto and Morris Bradshaw, 10 Raiderettes and other Raiders staff members attended the Grand Opening ceremony.
"We were thrilled to participate in the grand opening of the East Oakland Sports Complex and we look forward to participating in many exciting events at this tremendous community center," said Trask.
The Raiderettes get ready to help cut the ribbon at the Grand Opening ceremony. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Also on hand for the Grand Opening were Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland City Council President Larry Reid. Both city officials were excited to open the building to the East Oakland community. "This is a project that has taken Larry Reid a couple of decades to pull together the money," said Mayor Quan. "I can remember him talking about this project when I was a school board member. Sometimes you have to dream big in this city. It takes people to step out and say our kids deserve a world class facility and then be willing to fight for it again and again."
Reid was proud to have the East Oakland Sports Complex as a special place for the kids and their families. He was also excited to have the Raiders in attendance as a show of support to the community. "I value the commitment the Raiders have made in terms of being here, utilizing this facility and giving our children a sense of hope that they too can achieve the same thing that a lot of the Raiders players and professional staff have achieved," said Reid. "I'm really excited about the new partnership with the Raiders because this is the home of the Raiders."
Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson speaks to the crowd. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Coach Jackson spoke to the crowd about how excited he is for the Raiders to be involved in the community. "It's really special because I want to be here," said Coach Jackson. "I said before when I got this job that I want to be entrenched in this community and I think it's very important that we support them as they support us. We're here in force. Amy Trask and a lot of people from our organization are here because this is important. We would love to work with them and do something special in this place because that's what it's truly all about. We're giving back to kids, giving them opportunities to do something great here, giving them the opportunity to have another outlet, which I think is really important at a time when the economy is like it has been."
The energy in the building was palpable before the ribbon cutting ceremony even began. "Since I've been here, I can feel the energy that's in this building," said Coach Jackson. "What a tremendous facility. To just see all the kids and their families, people were swimming, and there were hot dogs being made, and there's a jumper outside, and kids are running around – this is a really special time and a special place."
The new mural on the side of the 25,000-square-foot East Oakland Sports Complex. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Also excited about the new facility was Oakland Parks and Recreation Director Audree Jones-Taylor. "For those that have not seen this facility, you've got to come on down," said Jones-Taylor. "It's 25,000 square feet, we have a 9,000-square-foot swimming area and water slide. Upstairs we have a great dance studio – not just a room, it's a studio with the mirrors and the bars. We have a fitness center that we're excited to have. Soon we'll have our state of the art fitness equipment coming in. Then we have a party room and we have a learning room and a community room upstairs."
Having the Raiders and the Raiderettes attend the grand opening meant a great deal to Jones-Taylor. "I really think it's important for the community to see the city and the sports organizations come together," said Jones-Taylor. "We're really excited about having the Raiders and the Raiderettes part of this facility. The best part is knowing that the city of Oakland has a fresh look and in East Oakland, and deep East Oakland as they say, these kids and this community has something that is way overdue and is much deserving."
Kids and their families lined up to watch the Raiderettes dance performance. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Before and after the ribbon cutting ceremony, Raiderettes Itza, Jonni, Jessica, Angel, Lytisha, Tiphanie, Maureen, Natalie, Tori, and Staci performed for the crowd. Young kids lined up to get a clear view of the dance routine. Hall of Fame Center Jim Otto also briefly spoke to the crowd. The grand opening of the East Oakland Sports Complex brought together people of all ages to share in a feat of which the city of Oakland could be proud. The Oakland Raiders were happy to be part of the special day.
The new East Oakland Sports Complex is located at 9161 Edes Avenue.