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March 12, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, March 12, 2004

Waterslides expansion plan awaits council decision Tuesday Waterslides expansion plan awaits council decision Tuesday (March 12, 2004)

Opponents of enlarged water park are making a splash

by Jeb Bing

The Pleasanton City Council is expecting a packed City Hall on Tuesday when it considers a plan for a $7 million expansion to the waterslides at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area on Stanley Boulevard.

The controversial proposal by waterslides owner Glenn Kierstead was rejected by the city Planning Commission in a 3-2 vote. The City Council public hearing will be Kierstead's last chance to win approval for his California Splash waterpark plan.

Although backed by the Pleasanton Youth Commission and the East Bay Regional Park District, the proposal has stirred widespread opposition from hundreds throughout Pleasanton who fear that the estimated 200,000 visitors to the expanded waterslides theme park would add to already congested traffic on First Street and Valley Avenue. Opponents, in letters and e-mails to this newspaper and city officials, have also warned about increased crime as thousands of teenagers come to Pleasanton on hot summer days to use the park.

"The expanded park would put up to 1,100 cars a day on our streets," state representatives of The Committee for No-Water-Park in fliers and yard signs distributed in the city. "We'll lose 10-plus acres of natural habitat, crime will increase, property values will decrease, more auto exhaust pollution ... and the list goes on!" the fliers read. The group also has opened a Web site with more anti-waterslides information at www.nowaterpark.com.

But Kierstead said his proposed California Splash would be smaller without the "thrill" rides found in Raging Waters in San Jose and other water parks in Manteca and Concord. He would model his expanded park after Knott's Berry Farm's Soak City in Southern California, which is a family-focused water park that appeals to all age groups.

He said the Pleasanton facility would also be less expensive, offering discounts to Tri-Valley residents and with summer jobs offered on a preferential basis to Pleasanton teenagers.

Even so, Corky Fuentes and other opponents to the park had no trouble garnering another 300-400 signatures on petitions they had at last Saturday's Farmers Market at Main and Angela streets, and they plan to be there tomorrow to sign up more opponents.

"People just walked up to us and signed these petitions seeking a No vote from the council," Fuentes said. "They are really adamantly against this. I've heard reports that some on the City Council think the so-called silent majority in Pleasanton favor the park. We represent the vocal majority who are saying no."

Officials are looking for every seat to be filled at Tuesday's meeting, which will start at 7 p.m. in the City Council chamber at the Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave. Copies of the California Splash proposal and related documents are available at the City Clerk's office and in the Public Library.


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