No more waterslides for Shadow Cliffs | March 1, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 1, 2013

No more waterslides for Shadow Cliffs

Park District cannot find right vendor for popular summer facility

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

What a ride it has been but the popular waterslides opened in 1981 at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area will not be refurbished or rebuilt.

One vendor, Harvest Family Entertainment LLC of The Colony, Texas, made two proposals, said Jim O'Connor, assistant general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, but they did not meet the terms set by the district.

"They wanted the district to fund 80%," O'Connor said.

That would have meant the district paying $2.4 million for its share to replace the current facility on 3.5 acres with a new slide complex to include inner-tube and body slides; a new Splash Harbor recreation area featuring soft play attractions, kiddy slides, a lily pad walk and aqua basketball; and a new children's multi-level water play structure, plus new food and beverage buildings and restrooms.

A second proposal from Harvest Family Entertainment was to develop a total of 8-11 acres, adding a 20,000-foot wave pool and 1,000-foot lazy river; a family adventure park with zip lines, obstacle courses and mazes; and a multi-purpose building. Estimated construction costs were $10 million to $12 million, which would have meant the Park District paying $8 million to $9.6 million.

"The staff recommendation was to reject the proposals," O'Connor said. "They didn't meet the terms, which was full funding and future operations and maintenance."

At the Park District operations committee meeting Feb. 21, its members voted 3-0 to support the staff recommendation.

A long-range land use plan for Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area, approved by the Park District board of directors in May 2011, said the waterslides were expected to remain open for another 10 years. However, the facility was not reopened for the 2012 summer season after inspections last winter determined they needed extensive repairs.

The land use plan calls for removing the waterslide structures, then adding picnic sites with tables, benches, barbeques, shade shelter, wind screening and trees. It also calls for eventually adding a "splash pad" playground or other water-play area geared to families with young children.

"The committee is asking us to expedite the land use plan," O'Connor said, "but we currently have no funding to remove the existing waterslides and no funding to implement the plan."

Park District Board Member Ayn Wieskamp, who represents Pleasanton and Livermore, said removing the old slides is a priority.

"We will push to get that cleaned up, then probably reconfiguring the hill," she said, "then find the money to do the trails and what we can do for planting -- maybe find an organization or company to take it on."

Supporters of the waterslides attended previous Park District meetings to speak on their value during the hot summer months and as a place for teen employment, but O'Connor said no one from the public attended last Thursday's meeting.

The Rapids Waterslide was opened in 1981 by Glenn Kierstad under a 25-year contract. After its expiration, the operation continued with year-to-year agreements, which Kierstad has said prevented him from making improvements.

The facility covers about 3.5 acres with four waterslides, a maintenance building, office, storage, restrooms with dressing areas and lockers, and a picnic area.

Water Ventures, a water park developer based in Lake Forest, conducted a study of the facility last summer and concluded the "site is an excellent venue for such a water park," noting that in order to be successful, it should offer more opportunities for water play, such as wave pools, leisure pools and lazy rivers.

The Park District sent out a request for proposals with a deadline of Dec. 20, but only Harvest Family Entertainment responded.

"I think it will be missed," Board Member Wieskamp said. "This is a very hot area. And it was not just for young people but for families, for birthday parties. It served a very useful purpose, for the Tri-Valley especially."

"People liked the idea that it's a small facility," she added. "I think if someone was willing to spend money on it they could have made money on it."


Posted by norm, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Mar 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Looks like the NO not here folks in Pleasanton got what they wanted the slides closed. No more laughing fun filled kids making noise at shadow cliffs. Oh yeah that is because a lot of the kids having fun were either Latino or Black. Can't have them here in lily white Pleasanton.
It is really too bad that the board bought into the reports that would not allow Glen Kierstad a long term lease. Then he might have been able to keep the improvements and repairs up to date.

Every board meeting, every council meeting any time the subject brought up the same group of NO NOT HERE, folks were there saying how bad traffic would be, how much noise would be generated. Well they won and now no more summer jobs for teens, no fun filled parties at the slides. I hope they are happy.

Posted by Sonya Olson, a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I must say that I am in shock to hear that the water slides will torn down and never to return. I have grown up in this valley and raised 1 1/2 daughters here too, and Shadow Cliff Water Slides has been a great little escape for us during the hot summer months. The water slides were practically my only summer time surprise for my girls mostly because they were so affordable, and me being a single parent that meant everything to us.

I don't think I would have liked it if they expanded the water park to a bigger facility. It was fine just the way it was. not too big I could keep track of my girls when after 10 or so trips up the cement winding road I soon became too tired to hike I keep find a spot off to side and let them do their thing.
It brakes my heart just knowing I have to tell my girls the water slides are gone.