Dimond Improvement Association
As a non-profit public benefit corporation, the Dimond Improvement Association (DIA) strives to represent everyone in Oakland’s Dimond District including residents, merchants and visitors. We work together on issues and projects ranging from streetscape improvements, business development and crime reduction to beautification and community celebrations. Through the DIA, the community has a unified voice to advocate for improvements with the City of Oakland.
DIA Formed in 1953. The DIA was established in 1953 as a non-profit community association in response to a neighborhood crisis, the slide of McKillop Hill, which resulted in the destruction of several homes. The DIA was successful in lobbying the City of Oakland to stabilize the McKillop landslide area near Sheffield Avenue and build William Wood Park. Early DIA projects included securing funds for the Dimond Branch Library, and establishing free parking under I-580, and at Dimond Avenue and Bienati Way. The continuing mission of the DIA has been to make Oakland’s Dimond District a vital, safe, and attractive place for everyone.
DIA Accomplishments and Current Activities
Dimond Branch Library
In the 1980s the DIA worked with the City of Oakland to move the Dimond Library to a new site with improved facilities and a larger space to house the library collection, as well as provide a community center. The Dimond Library is now an extremely busy branch library in the Dimond District and provides educational and fellowship programs for all age groups from children to seniors, and also hosts community meetings and events in the large meeting room. The Dimond Branch Library is celebrating their 100th year Anniversary in 2015. The website is http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/dimond-branch
Closure of Hillcrest Motel
In 2003, a group of DIA members and neighbors were able to work together in closing the Hillcrest Motel. The DIA partnered with Boston Avenue neighbors, the Oakland Police Department, our Oakland City Councilmember and other supporters to shut down a motel that had become a mecca for drug traffickers and prostitutes. In 2004, the motel was leveled and a senior housing facility “Lincoln Court” was built at the former Hillcrest Motel site. The DIA continues to work with the directors and residents of Lincoln Court to include these seniors in Dimond activities.
Dimond Public Safety Council Now 22X NCPC
The DIA formed the Dimond Public Safety Council incorporating the Oakland Police Department Beat 22X into a neighborhood crime prevention council. After a number of years of working with the City, this council became its own organization encompassing several surrounding neighborhoods. It is now the 22X Neighborhood Crime Prevention
Council (NCPC). Both the DIA and 22X NCPC work together to address crime issues in the Dimond District including burglaries, robberies, aggressive panhandling, and quality of life issues. Website: http://ncpc22x.org/
Dimond Gateway Garden and Beautification in Dimond
DIA volunteers created a mini-park at the major intersection at MacArthur Blvd and Lincoln Ave., supported by both the DIA and Dimond merchants. This is known as the “Dimond Gateway Garden”. The land is owned by the City of Oakland, but maintained by community members. In addition, DIA volunteers have established and continue to maintain many planted pots and flower containers on various corners and sidewalks in the Dimond District.
Fruitvale Alive Project and Champion Transit Plaza
Between 2004 and 2013, the DIA worked with the City of Oakland and Alameda County to create a pedestrian and bike friendly corridor starting in the Dimond District and continuing south along Fruitvale Ave. The Dimond District is an Alameda County transit hub providing accessible means of travel for residents and visitors. The Fruitvale Alive Project was completed in 2013 with the dedication of the Champion Transit Plaza, a dramatic transit structure that now stands in the middle of the Dimond District surrounded by a garden area maintained by DIA volunteers.
From 2002 to 2013 the DIA has surveyed residents, built relationships with commercial property owners, and has actively encouraged businesses and merchants to come to the Dimond District. As a result Farmer Joe’s Marketplace, a major family-owned upscale market; La Farine Bakery; Peet’s Coffee & Tea; Paws & Claws; and, additional coffee spots, a variety of restaurants, a copy shop, and a purveyor of handmade ice cream have energized the neighborhood. With the opening of Oaklandish in 2013, there is the hope with combined effort between the leadership of the DIA and the merchants, more businesses will choose to locate in the Dimond District.
The DIA fosters and encourages Public Art and is supportive of many local artists. The Dimond is home to several large public murals depicting the history, past and present of Dimond; and, a mural featuring the diverse cultures in Dimond. In addition, there is an exhibit created by children “Stars of Dimond”; a photographic exhibit featuring residents and local scenes; directional sidewalk mosaics; and, mosaics on several of the City utility structures. The DIA continues to work with local artists to bring more Public Art to Dimond.
The City of Oakland is no longer able to provide maintenance to districts other than street sweeping. The DIA and the Dimond community believe that a clean district is of primary importance in the economic viability, growth and safety of a neighborhood. In 2009, Keep Dimond Clean was organized by the DIA and continues to be sponsored by La Farine Bakery, to handle maintenance issues in the Dimond District, including the removal of litter, graffiti, cigarette butts and debris. This is a volunteer work group of approximately 30 volunteers organized by the DIA. Volunteers work every week and remove 12,000 pounds of sidewalk litter per year. There is also a dedicated volunteer team removing graffiti from signs, posts, newspaper stands, utility boxes and various sites. In 2012, the DIA and the merchants association each made contributions to hire a paid crew to supplement the volunteer team in removing litter and debris. A fundraiser was launched which raised additional funds by contributions from residents and merchants. Maintenance in the Dimond District is now accomplished through the combined efforts of volunteers and a paid crew.
Dimond Park and Dimond Canyon
Hosting 14 acres of open space, picnic areas, playgrounds, a recreation center and swimming pool, Dimond Park also connects to hundreds of miles of trails via Dimond Canyon, Joaquin Miller Park and the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The DIA works to build awareness for Dimond Canyon open space and trail system by leading hiking tours, and DIA volunteers maintain the 4-mile trail system. DIA volunteers have also created signage and a mapping system of the trail system. In addition, the DIA partners with Dimond Park Recreation Center to support community events hosted by this active center.
The Dimond List Serve and Website
The DIA funds and maintains an active online community e-list open to all who want to subscribe and follow the Dimond News Group Guidelines. Subscribers post various questions about services available; alerts of burglaries, robberies and crime; local events and activities; announcements; missing pets; and, lost and found. It is an important network to facilitate communication among residents and merchants. Email email@example.com to request access to the list serve. The DIA also hosts a website with information about upcoming events, DIA news, and a photographic history of events in the Dimond District.
The website is www.dimondnews.org
There are several yearly events co-sponsored by the DIA
May - September: The DPA closes off Campion St. on the second Sunday of each month from Lincolon to MacArthur and brings in art vendors, food trucks and music to create Art in the Street.
July: The DIA works with City of Oakland Parks and Recreation to provide the annual Open House in Dimond Park . The DIA contributes to the sponsorship of a circus performance, dance program, and theater. There are free swim hours for kids, and craft activities. The Dimond Branch Library, local organizations and City of Oakland representatives are also present to promote their efforts and organizations.
October: Annual Oaktoberfest in the Dimond. This is the major fundraiser of the DIA. Two main intersections are closed for vendors, non-profit booths for the library and schools, family arts & crafts, refreshment halls and competitions -- all part of this festival. There are three stages for music and performers. At least 15,000 people attend including residents, neighbors and visitors.
November: Two Star Market in Dimond provides a Thanksgiving Feast for neighbors and visitors in Two Star’s parking lot. This draws many volunteers, DIA support and people who enjoy the feast.The 11th annual Thanksgiving Feast in 2013 served 50 turkeys and 700 lbs of chicken.
December: The DIA joins with City of Oakland Parks and Recreation to feature Winterfestin the recreation center of Dimond Park. Activities include breakfast, caroling, holiday performances, visits with Santa Claus, and artisan and craft vendors offering holiday items.