Seven years after Pleasanton city officials and residents started planning to build out the current skate park at Ken Mercer Sports Park, two proposed design schemes were unveiled to the Pleasanton City Council last week.
Starting in 2014, the city was identified as being "deficient in skate facilities" by a half-acre and began planning for a buildout. Last year staff presented the top locations for a skate park, with the west end of Mercer Park adjacent to the existing skate park ultimately being chosen.
Andrew Lambert, son of late parks and recreation commissioner David Lambert, has worked closely with the city on the project and said during the Oct. 5 public hearing that he's spoken with more than 40 local youth about it.
"Their voices might be small, but the numbers of Pleasanton youth that support this is outstanding," Andrew Lambert said, adding that "they have an opportunity to create something that is truly fitting for the Pleasanton skate community."
"If it wasn't for my father David Lambert, without him we would not be having this meeting today about this incredible new skate park to benefit the next generation of Pleasanton," Andrew Lambert said.
According to a staff report, both skate park concept designs "are meant to be interchangeable so that items in option one can be placed in option two and vice versa," and "were created to maximize the use of the potential skate park space while retaining the existing skate park and other site features and amenities to the extent feasible."
In both designs, the basic footprint of the existing skate park will remain intact but the surrounding curb will be removed "to improve accessibility, increase the size of the drop-in area (where park users start their runs), and otherwise repair and incorporate the existing facility into the new design."
Both designs include areas for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skaters, as well as spaces for skate classes and workshops, plus access from both parking lots and landscaped buffers with shade trees around the skate park's exterior. Overspill guards are being planned to "significantly reduce lighting from bleeding into other areas," and staff also recommended shutting off the lights at 10 pm.
"Every neighbor that visited the community outreach meeting the other week at the skate park location supported lights,"Andrew Lambert said. "Every Parkside (Drive) resident that visited all supported the new and advanced lighting technology."
He added, "Designers have promised us that the nearest house, which is over 500 yards away behind layers of trees and the Zone 7 building, will not be affected by a single ray."
The first concept includes an 86,000 square foot skate park with 34,000 square feet of dedicated skatable area, plus sections for picnicking and relaxing, as well as shade structures, 20 additional parking, a drop-off and arrival area at the main parking lot, and would retain most of the existing trees.
"Concept Design 2" proposes 90,000 square feet of skate park with 38,000 square feet of dedicated skateable area plus picnic, hangout, view and events areas, modern fabric shade structures, an extra drop off area/access point in the south parking lot, and 18 additional parking spots in the north parking lot.
Both concepts were praised by the council; most members like Kathy Narum said they would "rely on the skaters as to what they want, they're the ones that are going to use it," though Councilmember Jack Balch said he "did like Concept 2 and hearing Mr. Lambert, junior, talk about it as his preference."
"I just felt that the rounded feel compared to the meandering paths and sidewalk that we already have on the frontside of Hopyard, really just carried that concept through," Balch said, and added that he favored "preserving as much of the trees, and the shade and the screening from Hopyard is important, but I think we should try to still reach for a little more parking here."
Vice Mayor Julie Testa said, "I absolutely would stress the need for a restroom" as part of the plans. "While a quarter of a mile, the skateboarders can zoom there or, quite frankly, choose not to make the trip to the restroom, it would really be better for everyone to have a conveniently located restroom that would incentivize using it, and for the parents and the younger kids, I think is mandatory."
Due to the expense, Narum said she would like the bathroom as an add alternative to the construction bid so the park is "done sooner than later," while Mayor Karla Brown supported the bathroom in the package bid.
Toward the end of the hearing, Brown said that Andrew Lambert "has been working on this for so many years" and supported naming the skate park after his father in the future.
"It also took a lot of patience for him to learn just how slow government really goes, and it does go slow," Brown said. "He's passionate about this for others, so he'll probably be off at college by the time this is done. I hope he comes back to ribbon cut with us."
One of the designs will be developed for final approval, and is expected to be presented for adoption in December or January. The skate park is being funded through the Skatepark Capital Improvement Program and currently has a $400,000 design budget, with expenditures expected to be $118,382. Construction funding has not been identified yet for the project.