Miraflores Centennial Project 2020:
An Immigrant Story

Richmond Rotary is celebrating its 100th year in 2020. To honor its Centennial milestone, the Club has adopted the Miraflores Greenbelt historical educational exhibit, scheduled for spring 2020 installation.

The Big Picture

Miraflores is a 14-acre City of Richmond residential development on the site of the historic Sakai and Oishi nurseries, founded by Japanese immigrants circa 1906. During its 12 years of phased completion, it has become a model of environmentally sustainable practices in planning and design. Tucked into the Park Plaza neighborhood, an older residential corner of the City, the project has worked with the residents to respect the neighborhood’s needs, clean up a toxic brownfield site, and honor the region’s past by preserving valued historic structures for future community and youth activities. A greenbelt and daylighted creek now link to the Richmond Greenway and Bay Trail. Affordable, solar-powered senior housing is complete and occupied. 190 market-rate condos will follow.

By spring 2020, the powerful history of Japanese Americans in Richmond will be told in accessible outdoor educational exhibits of varied themes that connect all who have come here and shared in the experiences of home and community building, obstacles, and perseverance. These will become a part of the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park and its overall public interpretation.

A Rotary Connection

David Ninomiya, Ninomiya Nursery, 1969

The Miraflores Centennial Project exemplifies a theme that will feel familiar to Rotarians: Making a Living / Building a Community. In our own way, each of us balances the need to do both. Most of us come to realize that our livelihoods and our commitments to service are mutually reinforcing and fulfilling. The story of the Ninomiya Nursery in North Richmond illustrates this.

David Ninomiya, President of Richmond Rotary in 1978-79, was 4-years-old when his family was forced to vacate because of internment during World War II. He became a respected leader in the horticulture industry and is fondly remembered for his dedication to the ‘rose’ that would become the national flower of the United States.

Centennial Project Objectives within the Miraflores Greenbelt

  • Preserving History for future generations to understand the perspective of other cultures through the Japanese American story on the site where the nurseries they founded once flourished;
  • Building Connection where the Greenbelt connects pedestrians and bikers to the
    San Francisco Bay Area via the Richmond Greenway, the San Francisco Bay Trail, and the Ohlone Greenway in El Cerrito, Albany, and Berkeley;
  • Teaching Environmental Stewardship through the transformation of a brownfield to healthy public use and by providing vocational youth training opportunities (through Groundwork Richmond) to maintain the site.

Toward these goals and to honor its centennial, Richmond Rotary (with support of community donors, the Rotary Foundation, and participating Rotary club partners) is committed to funding the completion of the expanded “Making a Living / Building Community” permanent display(s). Volunteers (on a date to be determined) will assist in the installation of exhibits and plantings —including flower cuttings from the original greenhouse sites. A ribbon cutting celebration will follow.

Proposed location of themed display with Rotary dedication

Early design concepts of display

Miraflores Greenbelt concept sketches provided by Vallier Design Associates
Historical curation by Donna Graves; Miraflores is a project of the City of Richmond.

For more information about Richmond Rotary’s Centennial events please contact:
Jan Brown, 2019-2020 President: jan@spokewise.com | Tel.1-510-234-2141
Josh Genser, Project 2020 Chair: jggenser@gmail.com
Don Lau, Centennial Fundraising Chair: dlau1969@gmail.com
Stacey Street, 100th Anniversary Event Chair: SStreet@richmondcf.org