The Grand Lake Neighborhood has long been a hotbed of neighborhood activism. Highlights of the past 40 years include:

Early 1980s

The Rose Garden Neighborhood Preservation Association led by Arvey Dorsey and the late Joanne Hausler lobbied successfully to downgrade zoning to protect the area’s diminishing stock of historic residential properties.

Late 1980s

The Rose Garden Neighborhood Preservation Association stopped several overreaching expansion attempts by the Grand Avenue Safeway, and negotiated a more reasonable modernization that met the needs of both Safeway and nearby neighbors.

Late 1990s

The Great Mandana Action Coalition led by David Flack lured Arizmendi and Noah’s Bagels to what was then an under-served commercial district with a host of vacancies, and helped facilitate the founding of the Lakeshore Avenue Business Improvement District.

Late 1990s

Caroline Kim’s East Shore Park Preservation Association successfully fought to prevent commercial development in Splash Pad Park and also initiated the Grand Lake Farmers Market under the freeway.


The Greater Mandana Action Coalition hosted the first citywide Mayoral forum of the 1998 election season at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church with live television coverage of the debates among 11 candidates.

Late 1999

The Splash Pad Neighborhood Forum led by Ken Katz began lobbying for substantial improvements to make Splash Pad Park more attractive and to provide an open-air home for the farmers market culminating in a festive Grand Opening celebration in October 2003.


The Grand Lake Grime Busters under the leadership of Mary Ellen Navas adopted the Rose Garden and with the help of hundreds of volunteers began a restoration process that culminated in recertification by the National Rose Society.


An ad hoc group called the Greater Grand Lake Coalition led a petition campaign to prevent McDonalds from leasing the Kwik Way site. McDonald’s was stopped dead in its tracks as the community, city council and Planning Department all agreed that a fast food drive-thru was inappropriate.


Jerry Cauthen’s Grand Lake Traffic Calming Committee originally played a critical role in the formulation of the street and pedestrian safety improvements as a subcommittee of the Splash Pad Neighborhood Forum. More recently as an independent entity, their efforts, in cooperation with Oakland’s Public Works Department, led to a substantial grant from the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Agency. Combined with funds from other sources, just over one million dollars was designated for Lakeshore and Lake Park Avenue improvements.


The Grand Lake Retail Advisory Group conducted an extensive public opinion survey to determine shoppers’ views of the commercial district. Based on the results of the survey, GLRAG actively recruited new businesses to the neighborhood, facilitated infrastructure improvements, and continues working to strengthen existing (or create new) merchant and property owners groups.


In early 2013, the City’s Planning Department was leaning towards rejecting plans for what would become Alchemy Bottle Shop based largely on the presence of another liquor shop across the street. The overwhelming consensus of the May GLN 2013 community survey was in support of Peter and Tova’s proposal to open Alchemy. Later that year, the Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of opening the now-popular shop.


A new survey was conducted of the neighborhood as a followup to the 2008 and 2013 efforts. To a great extent, this was driven by the interest in what was planned for the old Kwik Way site on Lake Park Avenue, but was also an update to what neighbors generally felt were important issues in the area. The “2016 Neighborhood Survey Results” can be found in the navigation on the left and top of this page.


The Lakeshore Homeowners Association with nearly 1,000 members, and dozens of Neighborhood Watch and block groups work quietly and diligently to improve our neighborhoods. Deserving of special mention is Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church and Rev. Jim Hopkins for their active involvement in the community, in particular hosting literally hundreds of community meetings.

Grand Lake Neighbors is proud to be among this long line of groups dedicated to neighborhood preservation and improvement.