In the April 8, 1987 issue of the Pleasanton Express, a story headlined “Park playground dream comes true” detailed the fiveday adventure of more than 500 residents coming together to build a wooden sculptured playscape designed by nationally known New York architect Robert Leathers.
The playscape’s life span as dictated by Leathers was for 25 years, thirtyone years later the City of Pleasanton due to new playground rules, regulations and safety guidelines will be removing the beloved sculpture. For many this will be a sad occasion, and some will not be able to imagine the park without the wooden playscape. But, along with not being accessible for children with disabilities it is not financially possible to bring it up to code for it to be made safe for all children. Leather’s playscapes have been removed around the country for the last several years.
“The River Park has been a center point of family activity in this community for decades,” said City of Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Director, Greg Leach. “Children who played and made memories in this park are now bringing their children and even grandchildren to make memories of their own. It is not the wood and concrete that holds the memories, but the people. This park is a living, breathing entity, and our dream is to let it grow into a place that enriches the lives for generations to come.”
Leach stated that the construction of the roads and parking lots began this week. The groundwork for the splashpad and skatepark have also begun. Incorporated into the parking lot, will be a drainage system that will run adjacent to the current play structure. That drainage will be installed early September, so the playground will need to be closed and deconstructed beginning next week.
The new playground structures will include three to four separate pieces. Separate playgrounds will be directed to children 2-5 years old, 5-12 years old and a separate swing set area complete with special needs access. “We’re really excited about being able to utilize the slight elevation change in the park for a zipline,” said Leach.
The final concepts have been submitted by the splashpad and skatepark designers and are currently under review. Parks and Rec are also finalizing plans for bid submittal for the new restrooms and pavilions. “Everything is now moving very quickly, and we are tentatively set for a Spring 2019 opening,” said Leach.
Leach said as the city dives deeper into the construction of the north end of the park that they will be closing off some, if not all of the Main St. entrances. The Adams St. entrance will remain open for the majority of the park use.
Leach said that it is bittersweet to have to tear down such a loved structure. He said this quote helps him put it into perspective. “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” .