2730 Hillegass Avenue, Berkeley, California 94705, United States
Willard Park is the main neighborhood park located at 2730 Hillegass Avenue, at Derby Street in Southeast Berkeley, and includes a large grassy area, as well as a clubhouse and a lot developed in partnership with the community.
Willard is a park for all ages in the south of Berkeley, close to Telegraph Avenue and Willard Middle School. The play structure is definitely made for a preschool toddler set. There are tennis courts and a large grassy knoll, where dogs run around and people do yoga. Willard is also home to the Easter Egg Hunt of Berkeley.
In 1957 and 1964, the City purchased parcels to create the park, and in 1968, funds from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were allocated to purchase the remaining properties of the existing park. Plans for a user-developed park with shared use between the City and Willard School were approved in April 1969. Land was cleared of buildings in the summer of 1969, and an interim park was built in the fall of 1969.
In August 1970, the Willard Park Citizens Committee approved final drawings for the development of Phase II of the Park. The park was officially opened on June 20, 1971. During the years of the Vietnam War, community activists called Ho Chi Minh Park.
Willard Park has a small summer program that children can enjoy. They've scheduled activities, including a lot of field trips, but most of the kids are just playing. They can choose to play the whole day if they want to, most of the time. The price is quite moderate, probably around $400 a month for most people (less for us because I have a low income). It's a small program, however, and you have to get there in the morning that opens it to sign up (Saturday in early May), or you don't have much of a chance to get in.
Willard Park is a terrific park and playground for families with a large grassy field, a playground and tennis courts. There's a fabulous, redesigned, fenced-in playground for children. Push children into baby swings or jump into a creative play structure. The giant tree has framed this mini park and provided shade for years to come. Large benches provide comfort. You'll see school-aged children all around the clubhouse. On the weekends, the park is busier and more fun. You can see jugglers, yoga enthusiasts, slack liners, hula hoopers and an occasional bouncing house on a large, well-maintained grassy lawn.