Willard Park is the main neighborhood park in Southeast Berkeley, and it features a large grassy area as well as a clubhouse and tot lot built in collaboration with the community.

The City purchased parcels for the park in 1957 and 1964, and in 1968 funds were allocated from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds to purchase the remaining property at the current park site. In April 1969, plans for a user-developed park with joint use by the City and Willard School were approved. In the summer of 1969, the land was cleared of buildings, and an interim park was established in the fall.

The Willard Park Citizens Committee approved final drawings for Phase II of the park development in August 1970. On June 20, 1971, the park was officially dedicated. Activists in the community dubbed it Ho Chi Minh Park during the Vietnam War.

Measure Y, a bond measure passed in 1974 to increase recreational opportunities for Berkeley residents, was used to renovate the tot area in 1976, and on May 8, 1982, ceremonies were held to rename the park after Frances Willard, a suffragette, educator, and temperance leader.

Friends of Willard Park, an active community adopt-a-park organization, spearheaded several park improvements in the mid-1990s, including the renovation and redesign of the tot play area. The Friends of Willard Park are still active in the park’s ongoing maintenance and improvement.

You can see these features on the park:

  • Turf that serves multiple functions
  • (2) lit tennis courts; practice wall available Tot play area with wood play structure with swings, slide, climbers, and stage, fully enclosed in sand-filled play area with accessible rubberized surfacing
  • Area for picnics
  • After-school recreation programs are held in the clubhouse.
  • Paths made of historic cobblestones

The courts are well-maintained and have lights that work until 10 p.m. Each court is separate and fenced in. The lighting is fantastic! They work properly, and there are no dark shadow areas on either court. It’s a nice, quiet park that’s clean and well-kept. There is plenty of parking space in a good location. It’s a great place to have a picnic, meet up, and hang out with family and friends.

A park is a natural, semi-natural, or planted area set aside for human enjoyment and recreation, as well as the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. Urban parks are green spaces created within towns and cities for recreation.

Berkeley, California is blessed with some of the Bay Area’s most beautiful parks.  Here’s a list of our favorites:

  • Codornices Park
  • Aquatic Park
  • Ohlone Park
  • Berkeley Way Mini-Park
  • Grizzly Peak Park
  • César E. Chávez Park
  • Grove Park
  • Live Oak Park

All of these parks are located just a short distance from our location in downtown Berkeley, at 1935 Addison Street, Suite A!