The upcoming hearing is a sham. At previous hearings, support for retaining and upgrading the waterslides was almost unanimous. Susan Andrade-Wax, Pleasanton's Community Services director, and all the members of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission asked the East Bay Park District representatives to keep the waterslides open. Even some who liked the alternative plans for more trails and the interpretive center, also asked that the slides stay open.
But the die was cast when Wieskamp and park district inspectors invited a reporter from the San Jose Mercury News for an exclusive tag-along look at the slides in January. Kierstad, who has operated the waterslides since they were built and knows the maintenance schedule, wasn't invited. The inspection took place in mid-winter when the slides aren't maintained and probably are in their worst condition. No one even turned on the water to see if they could operate before unnamed city, county, fire district and state inspectors declared the slides a hazard that shouldn't be allowed to open again.
We've watched the thousands of kids, including many of our own, come breathtakingly down the Shadow Cliffs slides summer after summer. Since 1981, when Kierstad obtained is permit to build and operate the slides, they have offered a reasonably-priced hot summer day of fun for families and children who could enjoy a day of cooling recreation right here in Pleasanton. Kierstad says he could make the needed repairs to the slides for much less than the $400,000 the park district estimates, but he will need a 20-year lease to keep them running to pay off the loans he'll need. He's likely out of luck, and with no thanks for the 30 years he's operated the slides, trouble-free.
Without the slides, the thousands who might have enjoyed them this summer and in the future will now have to drive to waterslide parks in San Jose or Concord to spend their money for summer fun.
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