Fun for Everyone: Pleasanton Council Examines Playground Design Options for All Levels | New
After months of public comment on two design concepts for Pleasanton’s first all-grade playground at Ken Mercer Sports Park, City Council gave its own comments last week.
“It’s creative, it’s like creating art,” said Mayor Karla Brown after a staff presentation at the October 5 council meeting. “It seems like every playing field is very unique and different, so we just want to make sure there’s a concept there, that we want to pay for it someday, and we want it to look as good as the designs are. “
The city started planning its first all-skill playground four years ago, when families with special needs initially approached staff with the request and made it a top priority for the past two years, including approving and budgeting funds for the design process.
“We don’t make decisions in a vacuum, we really reach out to our residents,” said Brown. In addition to creating a website dedicated to the project which is updated regularly, the city has also held six stakeholder meetings with different groups to discuss the playing field.
Using “as much as possible the public feedback received while reflecting the character and vibe of the community and the park,” staff said in a report that “the two designs are meant to be interchangeable so that the elements of the ‘option one can be placed in option two and vice versa. “
Called “Pleasanton’s Rise Playground”, Option 1 is an “inspirational” playground that “encourages bravery, confidence and the joy of uplifting others.”
“The idea behind this concept is to encourage each individual to rise to their unique potential as well as to uplift others and find joy in them,” project manager Gina Chavez told the council this week. that night. “You will see a lot of elements related to the climb like elements of the sky, including the sun and the clouds.”
Celebrating “the lush, lush green surroundings and ripples of the park,” Option 2 – also known as the “Pride of Pleasanton Playground” – “encourages users to experience nature through organic shapes, materials and materials. and natural textures, and a variety of adventures and challenges along the way, ”according to staff.
Interpretive play features that staff say “bring out the uniqueness of Pleasanton” are featured in Option 2, which also includes an entrance area with a replica of the Pleasanton Arch also featured. in option 1. A large main play area with a replica of the Kottinger farm “or other key historical building in Pleasanton that could be interacted with in a variety of ways” was also proposed for option 2, as well as nature-themed games equipped with mounds, sand and sensory play items.
While the two concepts have different themes, each option includes additional accessible parking, a drop-off and load / unload area, new parking spots, and a walking loop around the perimeter. Regardless of the design chosen, the new all-grade playground will replace the existing and obsolete playground currently east of the Mercer Park softball field complex.
Option 1 would include a climb spot in the play space leading to a cloud mound climbing area, “and this would lead to a focal feature that is concentrated with a raised structure that could be a bird, but could also be another element, and it has several types of climbers, slides, a zip line and ramps coming out of it, ”said Chavez.
Another feature of Option 1 that has received “a lot of attention” from the community is Rainbow Road, a multi-colored path with different colors of the rainbow and musical instruments lining it.
At each end of the rainbow is a rocker area and a fitness group area, before moving on to an active play area with a large net climber and a basketball, which includes hoops of different sizes instead of just one so people of all skill levels can play side by side. Quiet areas, additional picnic areas, and a sensory play area are also incorporated into the design.
Both concepts received praise from the board, although option 1 was unanimously preferred, with the exception of the bird.
“I’m a little worried about the bird concept, which I think is really neat and unique, but just the practicality, the durability,” said board member Valerie Arkin.
The bright colors and themes of Option 1 appealed to Board Member Kathy Narum, but said, “I’m a little worried about the bird, its upkeep. These things are useless if they are broken and not easily repairable. “
“This is something I would ask to consider as you go along. We want the kids to play on this,” Narum said.
Brown said, “I think I’m going to fall for concept one, which is more colors and more frivolous fun and more things to look at and touch,” but that she was “not a fan of it. ‘bird, sorry. “
“I’m definitely not a designer but I love the idea of this rainbow theme, I love the kites, the kites there,” Brown added.
Vice Mayor Julie Testa called the design unveilings “so exciting” and said she had “a huge preference for number one” and his “color, creativity and whimsical nature”, but that “l ‘bird must be more whimsical than the bald eagle, “as pictured in the render, and suggested swapping it for a butterfly instead.
“It clashes with that fantasy, that game, that color and the wonderful Rainbow Road,” Testa said.
Testa also asked why the two concepts did not have a water element, and staff said they were “very, very sensitive” to the implementation during the recently declared local water scarcity and tenure of. conservation of 15%.
“It was very difficult for the conversations because we understand that for many of our participants with special needs, the sensory sense comes around this sand and water game,” said the staff. “We have certainly heard many families say they would like the water feature, but the staff feel very sensitive to the drought situation and the composition of the recycled water in the park and how we could logistically get there. “
Testa said she “would always ask to include a fogger for cooling, and if it isn’t on during critical times, then it isn’t on during critical times.”
“It brings so much joy, I think we would be really missing out on an opportunity,” Testa said. “Pleasanton is hot, it’s getting hotter and hotter. “
Council member Jack Balch said he is also not “a fan of the bird, but I also just want to warn that when we talk about a butterfly or something else, we would almost change. the problem”.
“I’m going to let the designers design, quite frankly, but I think it’s a great concept of butterflies,” Balch said.
There are several opportunities for public comment in the near future, including another playground survey scheduled for early this month and another Parks and Recreation Commission meeting in November. A final conceptual design and cost estimate for the project will be released once all public comments have been received.
Staff said there was currently sufficient funding for the design, but none had yet been identified for construction, and that the design estimate “will be used to identify the amount of funding needed to the construction of the project “.