The construction plans for the Freedom Center were approved, with the addition of bollards, with a 6-1 vote, at the July 18 Pleasanton council meeting. Voting against the item was Abraham Sanez (Dist. 2).
The council voted unanimously back in April to approve the concept.
Larry Hicks of RVK was on hand to present the Freedom Center plans. The concept is planned for the eastside of the new Pleasanton Civic Center and Library.
Hicks explained they are taking the area across the street and closing it, to have a pedestrian area without cars. There will be a memorial to honor local veterans as a focal point.
“As a summary, we are going to create a pedestrian street. We also want to make the area flexible so it can accommodate festival events like Market Days. Another thing is to make the intersection safer and prohibit the way people can turn. They will only be able to make a right turn onto the highway,” said Hicks. “Take this space and make it for the community. It’s a diamond in the rough and we want to make it the heart of Pleasanton.”
Other changes include lowering the columns for the memorial, having parking on the north end to make it safer and adding more greenery. There will also be a little bit more illumination.
Councilman Jeanne B. Israel expressed concern about residents with children who are worried about the openness to the actual road.
Hicks said the bollards are there so the pedestrians realize there is something there so they don’t go across it.
“We also have the libraries, there. Residents with small children want to be able to utilize it. Is this the point to have a further discussion about this item, or can we address it down the road,” asked Israel.
Hicks said they were at the point of pricing it, so now was a good time.
Israel made a motion to accept the construction plans for the Freedom Center with the addition of a wall. There was a second by Councilman Roger G. Garza.
Councilman J.R. Gallegos said what Israel mentioned has always been a concern.
“We all knew when the city bought that land, we knew about all the traffic. I agree we need safety for children, but we all knew it was going to come to this,” said Gallegos.
He added he does not like the wall blocking the concept.
Councilman Jimmy Magel said he was approached by several businesses as far as parking and he was concerned about that.
Following some discussion on what exactly the motion was, Gallegos amended the motion to strike out the word “wall” and include “bollards.” This was approved 6-1.