Bernal Park sports fields, woodland projects to start next year

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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."


2 people like this
Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 8:38 am

I hope it isn't really "AstroTurf fields" and the city manager misspoke and meant FieldTurf. AstroTurf is pretty bad (think AstroDome) whereas FieldTurf is the modern material that is on most of the high schools' football fields. Big difference.

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Posted by Get a Grip
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 8:55 am

Why is money being spent on putting in sports fields when their are infrastructure improvement projects that are critically needed. A prime example is the horrible condition of some of our streets.

Fialho stated that "not a lot of turf will be put in. It would be outrageous to put anything in that required potable water. This project should not go forward at all unless and until they install pipelines to irrigate any vegetation at the Bernal Sports Park.

I realize we need more sports fields in Pleasanton, but that must be secondary to maintaining infrastructure already in place. Also, no new building should be permitted at all in Pleasanton until the City can ensure there is the water to sustain existing needs.

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Posted by already conserving
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2014 at 9:11 am

Agree GAG-- until there is adequate RECLAIMED water for any uses in a park there should be no building at all. Enough with the city telling us to cut back or else and then making plans for more parks that will use more drinking water.

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Posted by Parker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2014 at 11:03 am

Very Excited to See this project Finally starting. And the city is being prudent and sensitive to the current water shortage as they move forward.
And I agree that the turf fields going in need to e the current technology, not the old, hard stuff

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Posted by Sydney Squires
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2014 at 6:23 am

Pro Law,

AstroTurf is a company and brand name that invented synthetic turf (at that time it was the old stuff, true), but they make the newer technology, too. FieldTurf is just one company/brand of many.

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Posted by Are design plans posted?
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 8, 2014 at 9:04 am

Thanks Jeb for the update! The sports community is anxiously awaiting the construction of these 3 lighted, modern artificial turf fields. Hopefully the council will follow-through with getting the infrastructure and sports fields completed first and then later adding the trees and vegetation that require water once the drought breaks. (And hopefully those 'purple pipes' are also going to run to the Bernal Park.)

Have updated plans and/or timelines been posted on the city's website recently, or was this article just based on your interview with the city manager?

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Posted by #Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 8, 2014 at 10:28 am

addendum: can we all get along

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Posted by LaxDad3
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 8, 2014 at 11:04 am

LaxDad3 is a registered user.

These fields will be a great addition to Pleasanton youth sports. Practices are currently squeezed into daylight hours and are often cancelled due to rain (hard to imagine right now). This puts our teams at a big disadvantage verses teams from the surrounding communities (Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville) which already have lighted turf fields.

Agree on use of reclaimed water and delaying planting until drought is over.

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Posted by Joe MacNeil
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Fieldturf is awesome! Check this post out:
Web Link

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Posted by already conserving
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2014 at 8:50 am

Do all of those sports teams have to pay anything for the use of the fields? I certainly hope so as the taxpayers are already paying enough to build them in the first place. I lived near a soccer park at one time and although it was a beautiful park, and very suitable for large family gatherings, we could never use it due to the constant use by kiddie teams that paid nothing at all. I guess the people who lived in that community were only good enough to pay for the fields, not use them.

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Posted by Curious
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Jul 9, 2014 at 10:19 pm

The city should also consider putting some some solar panels to raise the use of clean energy. Couple that with free electric car chargers for residents to promote the use of electric cars would be a win-win for us and the environment.

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Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 10, 2014 at 8:20 am

The next round of athletic fields should be achieved by following the Middle School gym model, whereby the city and school district partner and share the facilities. They should install Field Turf at the Middle Schools and Upper Bernal. That way the only money needed would be for the actual turf (and lights if possible). The parking lots, trees, pathways, drinking fountains, etc. are already in place. Just an idea…

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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