Thank you, Jim Ryugo

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Jim Ryugo retired at the end of June as Building Services Manager after 33 years of service in the city’ Public Works Agency. He began working with Rockridge neighbors on a park when he was a manager responsible for park maintenance and trees in about half the city. He was instrumental in renovating Colby Park and, later, in the multiyear effort creating Frog Park, the Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt.


Dear Jim:

It was just over 20 years ago that you began working with parents in the Rockridge community to find a place for a children's park, and with your help and guidance, we were able to renovate Colby Park. We could never have dreamed that this small project would develop into a 21-year collaboration, the centerpiece of which is Frog Park, the Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt Park.

Throughout the years, you have been an incredible resource for us, providing direction, resources, information and strategies about developing and maintaining parks in Oakland. Frog Park involved Oakland's first-ever community-built park, which required getting permission to do all sorts of things not usually allowed in parks, and fostering working relationships with Alameda County, CalTrans, DMV, and the State of California, as well as with Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation, various contractors, and the Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission.

Through it all, you shared with us your wisdom and creativity about getting things done, always with an eye toward supporting the community and volunteers within the framework of city requirements and budgets. We followed your advice, and as we said at the 10th anniversary celebration for Frog Park, we could not have created this park without you. Our community is so very much the better for having been able to work with you.

We wish you the best in your well-deserved retirement, and hope that we might continue to hear your thoughts on the park as we continue our second decade of work promoting parks and open space in the community. Thank you for everything you have done for us. We are truly grateful, and we hope that you will enjoy the one-of-a-kind stepping stone created by Jimmy Pedersen, one of our FROG Committee Members, which includes the Frog Park pathway stamp and special items from the pathway.

- The FROG Park Committee and Volunteers