May 19, 2004

Plans Revealed for San Leandro Parks/Facilities

Carolyn Knudtson, the Director of Recreation & Human Services Director for the City of San Leandro was the featured speaker at the Estudillo Homeowners Association's May 18th meeting. Ms. Knudtson covered some of the city's plans for renovations and construction at Memorial Park, Chabot Park, and Washington Manor Pool. In light of expected budget cuts, Ms. Knudtson acknowledged that it has been difficult to fund all of the desired improvements, but she hopes to proceed in phases as funds become available.

The new playground equipment for Memorial Park has already been purchased and, based on the drawing shown at the meeting, the equipment appears to have been purchased from GameTime. All of the existing equipment in the large circular area (swings, large concrete pipe, slide/climbing structure, and metal bridge/climbing structure) will be replaced. The entire circular area will be fenced in, with a separate fenced area for smaller children. The drawing showed eight swings and a play structure with two slides and climbing areas. In the "tiny tot" area will be an imaginary train. As for benches, Ms. Knudtson noted that McCartney Park had six eight-foot long benches, which seemed like overkill for the one-acre park. A little research showed that three four-foot long benches should have been installed at McCartney Park, so three of the benches will be moved to Memorial Park. While Ms. Knudtson cautioned that timelines are subject to change, she expected the design to be complete by July and to go out to bid by August. A contract should be awarded by mid-September 2004, construction should begin around mid-November, and it should be finished by mid-January 2005. Of course, weather, funding, bureacracy, and other factors may delay this schedule.

The plans for Chabot Park are much more ambitious, which makes sense for a park that is five times larger than Memorial Park and in a much more rustic setting. Unfortunately, there is currently no money available, and therefore, no timeline. However, the plans include a new playground area with area for big and small kids that are close enough together that parents will be able to keep track of kids playing in each area. This will require moving the existing ampitheater to another area, where it will integrated into the hillside in an area of redwood trees. Ms. Knudtson noted that wood playground structures are preferred in order to keep with the rustic setting of the park. Climbing structures that resemble rocks are also planned. Parking and turn-around issues were critical for the park's master plan. A water-theme element was too expensive to include in the master plan, which was estimated at around $2 million to complete.

Plans for the Washington Manor Pool are also ambitious. The existing facility will be demolished to make way for a new competition pool and family recreation areas including a "wet playground" and a pool-based fun area where devices would drop water onto the children below. The pool that includes the fun area will feature a beach-like entry where the water gradually gets deeper and deeper. The "wet playground" would include things where kids would press buttons to make water move in various ways. The plans for the pool were approved by a group of 26 people representing various interests including swimming coaches, senior citizens, and other groups. Ms. Knudtson noted that the existing Washington Manor pool has nearly been closed by the county for each the past three years because it doesn't meet current standards. The design for the new facility is still in progress. Ground-breaking is scheduled for September 2005 and opening is scheduled for June 2006.

Much more preliminary plans for improvements to the playground at Bancroft Middle School were presented by supporters from the Bancroft Middle School Dad's Club. The improvement plans are for a field and recreation area that can be used by Bancroft Middle School and San Leandro residents after 4pm. The plans were inspired by a similar joint project between the City of San Leandro and the San Lorenzo Unified School District. The plans include a combined soccer and baseball field, a 440-yard track, tennis court, volleyball court, and badminton court. Ms. Knudtson stated her desire to get an agreement in place between the City of San Leandro and the San Leandro Unified School District so that no effort or resources are wasted in preparations for a park that never happens. Normally, an agreement is signed after construction begins.

Some of the equipment for McKinley Park is shown below:

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at May 19, 2004 12:22 AM
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