OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Several neighborhood groups in North Oakland protested against the possibility of a Home Depot getting built at the Ridge Shopping Center.
They say the current land owner has a plan to work with a developer to build a chain of the home improvement store on a current vacant lot. The neighborhood groups at Friday's protest say they would rather it be turned into housing.
"We think it brings more people to neighborhood which brings more shoppers to our local businesses, bring safety to the streets," said Casey Farmer, who is with the Rockridge Community Planning Council.
Protesters say current city permits do not allow them to build a Home Depot at that location, but they said the land owner doesn't have an interest in building housing. They said more housing is something Oakland needs.
"We know we are in a housing crisis, and we need to build more units," Farmer said. "We want to show and highlight that this is a huge eye sore and a vacant lot that has been vacant for a long time, but it is also a huge canvas of opportunity."
The other concern is about traffic near the shopping center. Protesters say the neighborhood caters to bikers and pedestrians, and a Home Depot would jeopardize that.
"As it is now, we can barely cross the street here. And we are talking about an incredible increase in volume," said Gail Cooper with the Piedmont Avenue Neighborhood Improvement League. "Nobody just walks to a Home Depot. You don't walk out carrying appliances."
They say they have the backing of the city to get more housing built. However, the city doesn't have the property. That is why they are focused on convincing the land owner to reconsider the idea of a retail store.
""For whoever will hear that the powers at hand, we want them to know that the community supports housing here," Farmer said.
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