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Dirty City Politics - Replacing another park with parking without regard to residents’ welfare

Original post made by Unbelievable, Willow West, on Sep 20, 2020

Here we go again. Pleasanton’s Park and Recreation Commission are playing to political special interest groups. The Bicentennial Park located behind the Century House in Pleasanton’s Willow West neighborhood is being PAVED OVER. Yep. You got that right. The Park and Recreation Commission has decided, despite resident objection, that the condemned Century House’s bottom level will be renovated to hold yoga classes at the tune of 3 million dollars. Yes, tax payers are footing the bill. Additionally, 2/3 of the neighborhood park located on Tanager Drive is being paved for additional parking. It will leave the remaining space unusable for former activities held there. Unbelievable. The parking lot is not even included in the $3 million. The asphalt will cost taxpayers an additional $150,000.

This park is the only one around this area that neighbors and families can run dogs, practice soccer and baseball, and hold football games on holidays. It makes me so sad that decisions are being made quickly and without full disclosure. The commission refused neighbors’ proposed solutions of shared parking with the medical offices directly across the street from the Century House and the unused extra/overflow parking spaces available within the apartment complex directly next door.

Icing on the cake...there are huge redwood and sycamore trees in this park that have been here well overs 60 years that are going to be torn down to “pave” this special agenda item for the city’s Park and Recreation Commission’s pet project. PLEASE, will someone help stand up and demand this process to be reopened to resident feedback. I just signed a petition on that had well over 500 signatures. It’s just another example how, in this day and age, big interest groups squash our hometown environment. I am sad for my kids and for this community.

“Paved paradise, put up a parking lot.” Remember that song from Joni Mitchell. Was she originally from Pleasanton?

Comments (14)

Posted by Gates Neighbor
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Sep 20, 2020 at 1:58 pm

Gates Neighbor is a registered user.

Our kids and friends use this park all the time, they used to have tee ball practice there. This is really disappointing to hear it's going to get turned into a parking lot and to lose the beautiful green space! I don't remember too many events happening at the Century House. Shared Parking with the nearby businesses sounds like a great idea!

Posted by James Michael
a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 20, 2020 at 8:00 pm

James Michael is a registered user.

Doesn't a parking lot mean more cars/traffic? Where is Matt Sullivan? Oh, how silly of's not near his neighborhood. But that is a sad thing indeed.

Posted by Justin
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 21, 2020 at 11:32 am

Justin is a registered user.

I've talked to at least 40 people about this project. Nobody wants the project to destroy the park to proceed. Why is this project happening when the residents don't want it?

If Park & Rec can't figure out a parking solution that works for the residents of the neighborhood, it seems obvious to me that the Century House is not a viable destination for events.

Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Pete is a registered user.

Why not give your name...? It is your neighborhood...! They are only trying to make your neighborhood more charming.
Former Mayor Ken Mercer, on our once a year catch up talk about community, during fair time once told/shared with me, “ politicians don’t care about kids...people do...!”
We are only instruments of existing get what you elect.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 21, 2020 at 5:21 pm

Steve is a registered user.

Gosh, my son has played little league practice and soccer practice there when we have run out of spots. I also have taken my children there a number of times for star gazing and to watch the moon on dark nights.
I live in the Manor apts and I never received word about this development. I don’t know why. I am only a block away. We don’t have a backyard so this park served for us aa a quick getaway to open space.
Doesn’t sound like there is going to be much usable space for sports. Perhaps the city will not put lights in the added parking lot so we can still stargaze.
Sounds like the extra parking across the street is a great alternative. Not everyone has a yard. I am disappointed to see it built out. Bummer.

Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2020 at 8:21 pm

Pete is a registered user.

You better write your letters to the editor. At .005% of our citizens contacting covid 19, mayor questioning if we have any way to address a mandate/law to wear mask, and no attendance at council/commission meetings-how much damage can they do if campaigning for our votes...means not addressing/communicating with our residents...?
Having Matt Sullivan’s name mentioned from a Val Vista resident is kind of funny when neighbors from other parts of our City have to come over and clean your park...

Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2020 at 8:54 pm

Pete is a registered user.


Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Sep 22, 2020 at 11:43 am

Billie is a registered user.

Found the following petition to "Save Bicentennial Park (Pleasanton)" which details a plan to *ADD* a parking lot to the park. Web Link

According to the petition, "The City of Pleasanton plans to restore the adjacent Century House (2401 Santa Rita Rd.) as a gathering space and event venue. The Parks & Recreation Commission proposes to expand venue parking on Bicentennial Park land."

The petition continues: "This approach would fragment the park; remove several large (including heritage) trees; pave much of the usable athletic space (due to slope and trees of remainder); and add emergency vehicle access on a residential street. Beyond degrading the park, this parking lot would take away part of what makes the Century House special: it’s lovely setting. The loss of historic grounds and trees would diminish Century House heritage and appeal as a venue, to the detriment of restoration goals."

NOTE: At the bottom of the petition there's a link for a "Community Zoom Meeting Thursday 9/24 5:00 PM" with information on how you can join the meeting to hear about the proposed project from the City as well as residents' position, and have a chance for questions and discussion.

The petitioner notes that you can email [email protected] with any questions you have for City officials, the Parks & Recreation Commission, or the Pleasanton City Council in advance of the meeting.

Also posted on the thread entitled: "Is the Bi-Centennial Home in danger".

Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 22, 2020 at 10:32 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

What idiot(s) came up with this idea? Get rid of the used cars for sale parked on Santa Rita in front of the Century House and you will have plenty of parking with no added cost to us taxpayers.
Wondering if anybody on the City
Council will step up and take a stand on this??

Posted by Nancy Allen
a resident of Danbury Park
on Sep 23, 2020 at 10:19 am

Nancy Allen is a registered user.

Many residents invited Karla Brown and me to meet with them on Sept. 10th to share their concerns. The residents were afraid that decisions may already have been made or were imminent that could shrink their park.
Following the meeting, we communicated with City Manager, Nelson Fialho, and confirmed no decisions have been made. There is a strong commitment to hear resident feedback and explore all options before making any decisions. My understanding is that no decisions will be made until 2021 at the earliest.
Nelson is scheduled to meet with the neighborhood representative, Jean Hazell, today to discuss a win/win timeline for all parties. I encourage neighbors to check with Jean tonight for the latest input. Thank you to the residents for making your voice heard so the best decisions can be made for the community that incorporates your feedback.

Posted by been there
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 23, 2020 at 10:25 am

been there is a registered user.

I am confused.....if we are still hovering in our bunkers and wearing masks everywhere why do we need another place for people to gather? Do you not see the irony (idiocy) here?
If we are not going to OPEN up our economy soon, we will have 1. little need for spaces for public social gatherings (no additional parking)
2. Less tax revenue to spend on ANY project (i.e. parking, parks, bike trails, civic center/office complex).
The whole point of the draconian measures taken in response to the "pandemic" is to divide communities and pit one citizen against another. Seems like we're doing a pretty good job of this so far. This issue is a prime example. Maybe we could have a discussion about what is happening to our community/nation/world and find a way forward rather than bickering about a park and parking. Can you not see the bigger picture here?

Posted by Joe Public
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Sep 23, 2020 at 10:58 am

Joe Public is a registered user.

Thanks to the neighbor’s input and the engagement of Nancy Allen, Planning Commissioner and Karla Brown, City Council Member, the resident’s concerns are being addressed promptly.
Great involvement by the community and our civic leaders in a positive direction for Pleasanton.

Posted by NTW
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm

NTW is a registered user.

Nancy, it is great to hear that our concerns are being heard and responded to. Previously, many of us in the community had tried to engage the Parks and Recreation Commission through their routine meetings and were extremely frustrated with the process. We've spoken out at every meeting this project was discussed at but felt that our voices were not being heard or taken into account by the Commission. We're given only 2-3 minutes each to speak BEFORE the Commission discusses the topic and after that you're no longer permitted to speak and cannot engage in any dialog whatsoever during the discussion. Repeated requests to partner with the Commission to work on alternatives fell on deaf ears and empty promises for meetings with the community were never followed through on by city representatives.

Thank you, Nancy and Karla Brown for actually taking the time to meet with us, to LISTEN to us, and for taking meaningful action on our behalf! We won't forget it in November.

Posted by Nolan
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 23, 2020 at 3:48 pm

Nolan is a registered user.

UPDATE: The meeting mentioned by Billie above to discuss this issue with city officials tomorrow night (24SEPT) is CANCELLED.

As mentioned by Nancy, City Manager Nelson Fialho met with Jean Hazell (our community organizer) today. He listened to our community concerns regarding proposed use of Bicentennial Park for Century House parking, and the request to expand potential alternatives for the City’s consideration. He has agreed to pause the Century House Master Planning process until early 2021, in order to allow time for Parks and Recreation Commissioners and Council members to meet with community members, and begin to better understand the neighborhood impacts and resident-generated alternatives. Prior to resuming the master planning process in early 2021, the City will also host a public joint-workshop (a public meeting) of the City Council and Parks and Recreation Commission, to further explore and refine these alternatives and frame the necessary parameters for moving forward. The City has committed to developing a plan that will make the most of Century House and Bicentennial Park for the City and community/neighborhood as a whole.

Thank you to Nancy, Karla, Jean, Nelson, and many others for bringing attention to this issue and for making sure that the voices of the neighborhood are heard!

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