Local Icon Honored

Joe Woodard    Jim Sweeney, front row, fifth from right, stands among friends and well-wishers who gathered last Saturday to help him celebrate his 90th birthday.

Community gathers to fete Jim Sweeney as he turns 90

Friends and family gathered at First Congregational Church on Sunday to help Jim Sweeney celebrate his 90th birthday. Jim and his wife Jean moved to Alameda in 1972. Together they enabled the City of Alameda to obtain the 40-acre Beltline Railroad property at its original 1925 purchase price, a small fraction of its current value. They also played important roles in rezoning the 22-acre railyard to open space. The city then developed the open space as a park and named it in Jean’s honor.

Jim served in the U.S. Navy as a Judge Advocate. Before settling in Alameda the Sweeney family lived in New York, Rhode Island and Washington. Jean died in 2011, leaving Jean Sweeney Park as her legacy. 

Jim has served his city well: as a member of Kiwanis, the Alameda Citizens Task Force and Bike Walk Alameda. He sat on the board of directors of the Alameda Navy League and served as commander and board member of the American Legion Post 647. And that’s not all: he served on the Base Reuse Advisory Group Housing Committee, the Economic Development Strategic Plan Committee and the Webster Streetscape Committee. 

The City of Alameda honored Jim in 2016, naming him the Fourth of July parade’s Grand Marshal. He rode shotgun atop the Wells Fargo stagecoach. Daughters Kathleen and Christine rode with him inside the coach.