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By Tim Hunt

The redwood plan for Ken Mercer Sports Park

Uploaded: Jul 29, 2021

After writing about coastal redwoods and recycled water last week a reader emailed some questions so I reached out to City Manager Nelson Fialho for additional information.
First, I must apologize because I erred in stating the question in last Thursday’s blog. The question was about dying redwoods on Valley Avenue, not in the Ken Mercer Sports Park as I wrote last week. The follow-up with Fialho dealt with the 102-acre Ken Mercer Sports Park. In an email, he wrote that the park contains about 1,700 trees of which 510 are coastal redwoods. The redwoods along Parkside Drive are irrigated with potable water, while the other trees, turf and landscaping all are irrigated with recycled water.
He wrote that city officials knew the recycled water would have an “adverse effect” on the redwood trees and would be an additional stressor over and above drought and climate change. Staff members have been monitoring the redwoods and “commissioned an assessment of numerous trees displaying obvious dieback in the crown.” The city followed the consultant’s recommendation and removed 24 redwoods and 1 pear tree and thus far 8 trees have been replanted. He wrote that over the last two years the city has planted 45 new trees in the park in preparation for the removal of the redwoods.
“Tree replacement considerations include new species that are more appropriate for Pleasanton’s climate conditions, recycled water tolerance and suitable planting and growth conditions to prevent over crowding. Current and future park use i.e. all abilities playground and skate park are also taken into consideration.”
Like most good gardeners, most trees are planted in the optimum fall season. He wrote that the city invests more than $850,000 annually to maintain and replenish its “urban forest.”
Switching back to an economic theme, the East Bay Economic Alliance for Business this week announced the finalists for its 2021 East Bay Innovation Awards. More than 200 entities were nominating with a committee trimming that list to two finalists in 10 categories.
The Tri-Valley was represented by 10x Genomics of Pleasanton in life sciences; Monarch Tractor in Livermore (electric farm tractors) in clean tech and AEye of Dublin in engineering and design. AEye does Lidar systems for self-driving cars and similar applications. Like 10x Genomics, it is home-grown here in the valley. Monarch is manufacturing are autonomous smart tractors. Wente is currently using the Monarch Tractor and the first to deploy as part of a beta program. It selected Livermore as its headquarters after working with Wente Vineyards.
Meanwhile, the Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group has welcomed a new chair, Stanford ValleyCare President and CEO Rick Shumway. He takes over for Steve Lanza, a retired senior executive at Lam Research. Lanza guided the group through a detailed visioning process for what the Tri-Valley should look like in 2040 and what areas needed attention to reach those goals. The process involved more than 1,000 people and resulted in in a report with five key areas of recommendations.
Shumway’s challenge will be to drive those recommendations with private, public and non-profit partnerships.
Incidentally, his involvement with ITV speaks to how well Stanford ValleyCare is operating. His Chief Operating Officer, Tracey Lewis Taylor, is currently serving as chair of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce.