My dad, Thomas Hart, got his first teaching job in Pleasanton in 1950 and commuted from Castro Valley to Pleasanton until 1965 when my Mom, Mary, and he decided Pleasanton was the town where they wanted to establish their roots and raise their family. My parents left our Castro Valley home and, with seven kids, moved into our family home on Gerard Court in the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood.
My best memories of growing up in Pleasanton were in the 1970s when we were free to roam the hills and ridges and explore this great city on foot. I can remember my friends and I would go to the end of Concord Street in the Vintage Hills neighborhood, slip through the barbed wire fence, and spend the day in the hills. Nothing but rolling hills, nature and fishing at Otis' pond. These hills I used to explore as a child are now called Kottinger Ranch. In 1996, my husband, Bronco, and I were fortunate enough to purchase a lot in Kottinger Ranch and build our dream home. We now raise our family of three in the hills I used to explore as a child.
Smart growth entered Pleasanton in the 1970s, '80s and '90s, and the hills and ridges I explored while growing up are now known as Vintage Hills 2, Grey Eagle, Pleasanton Hills, Bonde Ranch and Ventana Hills, just to name a few developments built in the Pleasanton hills. Behind the motto, City of Planned Progress, the hills came alive with great developments, wonderful families moved to town, and the city began a revitalization. Development meant property tax money to fund programs, parks and schools. Pleasanton thrived and our schools became nationally recognized. This small town grew without losing its small-town feel.
Oak Grove is much like every neighborhood that I previously mentioned. What sets this development apart, however, is what Oak Grove is giving back to our city:
1. Millions of dollars to our schools.
2. One million dollars to traffic improvements.
3. Yearly property taxes each year to fund vital services.
4. A permanent block against future development to the southeast
And most importantly, a 496-acre park to be used by all Pleasanton residents. No need to climb under a barbed wire fence to explore the hills like my friends and I did in the 1970s. The 496-acre park will allow all of us to actually experience the ridges, live them, explore them and enjoy them. Oak Grove is not only important to Pleasanton today, but future generations will benefit from this development.
Pleasanton is such a great city and I know there is a temptation to say you don't want it to change. I have the experience to say, Pleasanton became the great city it is today by change or what we call smart growth. We are the City of Planned Progress. I urge you to vote Yes on Measure D.