Del Valle Regional Park celebrated the completion of its newly renovated visitor center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring guest speakers and small group tours of the new space in Livermore.
The visitor center is now home to state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits, according to the East Bay Regional Park District. The educational experiences offered in English and Spanish include an immersive game that allows players to control the water level of the lake and an oak tree exhibit that replicates the outdoors and displays models of wildlife commonly found in the area. Visitors can also measure their own wingspan against a bald eagle painted on the wall.
The $1.9 million renovation project received federal, state and private funding, including $272,000 from the Regional Parks Foundation. EBRPD officials said that $520,000 of the funding went toward the exhibits.
The project was completed in April but had been in the works for more than two years with design beginning in September 2018 and construction starting in January 2020. However, due to COVID-19 shutdowns and multiple closures due to red flag fire warnings, completion of the construction was delayed.
EBRPD General Manager Sabrina Landreth and Board Director Ayn Wieskamp, whose representative ward includes Livermore, shared remarks during the ribbon-cutting event along with Zone 7 Water Agency Board President Olivia Sanwong.
Other guest speakers included supervising naturalist Ashley Grenier, interpretive and recreation services manager Ira Bletz, Livermore City Councilmember Brittni Kiick and Sayeh Ahmari, communications coordinator for Alameda County Supervisor David Haubert whose district includes Del Valle.
"Del Valle is an important part of our city and community as it's one of the major sources of water -- not just for this region but for the entire state of California -- so, caring for that facility is important beyond just recreation," Kiick told the Weekly.
"What's so great about the visitors center that they created is that it provides educational opportunities specifically about water and why water is so valuable to our ecosystem and our life here in the Tri-Valley but in really creative and engaging ways," she said, adding that her two children attended the event with her and were able to try some of the interactive activities.
The ceremony marked the official opening of the facility and the public is now able to visit. Masking and social distancing requirements are still in place.
Swimming and family camping are also open again at Del Valle. Officials said that capacity for swimming is determined by the number of cars let into the park per day but the number of occupants in each car is not counted.
As for family camping, visitors are required to bring in all of their own water and RV tanks must be full as construction is still underway on the park's water system. Group camping remains closed at this time.
Nearby Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton will be closed for swimming through the end of the year due to low water levels.
For more information and the latest updates about EBRPD camping facilities, visit ebparks.org/activities/camping.