Design work is nearing completion on a $16.5 million second phase at Pleasanton's Bernal Community Park with construction of new sports fields and a thickly landscaped area called Oak Woodland set to begin next year.
The lighted, all-weather, multipurpose sports fields for baseball, soccer, rugby and youth football as well as the woodland project are part of a specific plan adopted in 2006 that designated 168 acres of the Bernal property for commercial development and kept 318 acres of city-owned land for community purposes.
The project is about a year behind schedule and even the 2015 start date could be extended if the current state and Tri-Valley water shortage continues.
"This phase of the project does not include a lot of natural turf," said City Manager Nelson Fialho. "It's basically three AstroTurf fields, a lot of oak trees and natural California native plantings."
"So my sense is that where there is a need for landscaping, we will try to modify the project so that we can put the irrigation-intense areas of the park on the back burner for now, but proceed with the more important aspects of the park which are don't require irrigation," he added.
Steve Bocian, assistant city manager, said the landscape architect's plans for Bernal should be ready for a final review and consideration by the council in August.
With updated information on the California water crisis at that time, the council will decide whether to proceed with the development in 2015.
While awaiting the design plans, city staff is also working on a fundraising campaign in partnership with local sports groups to raise $2 million towards the Bernal project. The campaign would closely track the one used to seek private-partnership funds from civic arts groups for building the Firehouse Arts Center in 2010.
Yet, even with an increase this year in sales and property tax revenue, the city council continued its cautious fiscal spending policies that were established before and continued during the recent recession. Projects partially funded by the city government since then have included a commitment to rebuild and expand Kottinger Place and Pleasanton Gardens senior housing facilities and major improvements to the Dolores Bengtson Aquatic Center.
The council also has approved spending more than $1 million to install purple pipes to carry recycled water to major parks, Callippe Preserve Golf Course, the Mercer Sports Park and Hacienda. With a completion date of late 2015, the city can switch its irrigation of these areas from potable drinking water to recycled water.
The council also has approved spending $130,000 to narrow Black Avenue at several intersections to curb speeding, and $50,000 to add two new lighted tennis courts at the Pleasanton Tennis and Community Park.
However, the council held back on prioritizing a new public library or Civic Center, both multimillion-dollar projects that have been under consideration for years.
"Either one of those projects would require a huge amount of money," said Mayor Jerry Thorne. "When you take a look at the price tag, I think it will be a while before we can do something substantial with either one."