The City of Pleasanton is making headway on the next phase of the Pleasanton River Park Master Plan Renovation. Phase II includes a rec center behind the old Pleasanton elementary building on Main Street, which was purchased by the city in March 2020. In addition to the rec center, the old school building will be repurposed into an outdoor business and retail center, bringing in that Pearl Brewery and The Shops at La Cantera outdoorsy feel to downtown Pleasanton.
“This will be a very nice addition, not only to our River Park, but to our Historic Main Street,” said Pleasanton Mayor Travis Hall. “Going to school there and remembering what it was then, and what the property will become in the future, is very exciting for me. When completed, it will be something for everyone to enjoy.”
Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Director Greg Leach commented that the rec center’s potential will allow the city to connect and engage the community with new programs and events.
“A community’s quality of life can be defined by the benefits of its most visible public institutions: schools, libraries, hospitals, parks, etc. The site as a whole works across multiple sectors to improve quality of life by reenergizing downtown commerce and affecting change in the community’s health and well-being,” said Leach. “To be a part of the creation of a public space that benefits everyone, is truly an honor.”
The project, which was set to start last year, was delayed due to the COVID 19 pandemic and will be primarily built on grant monies.
City Manager Johnny Huizar stated that the city was awarded a grant last year for one portion of the project which includes a business incubator program. The city’s business economic firm, EMC Strategy Group’s Ernie and Janice Gonzales, are currently working with third parties to help assist and play an important role in seeking additional funding from the USDA for this project. This incubator program is designed to help new and upcoming business owners and young entrepreneurs alike get on the right track with starting their own business right here in the City of Pleasanton. The grant will also be used to renovate three classrooms into business training rooms for the incubator program. The first training will actually be taking place in a few weeks.
“Right now, this entire project is still in the concept design process,” said Huizar. “We are speaking with council members, Mayor Hall and city staff as well as with third parties to finalize what we want to see in our final design of this new project.”
On Feb. 4, the city held a workshop where LPA Design Studios, the architectural firm awarded the structure design, presented the first renderings of the project to city council for approval.
“So many things need to happen first, and we are just in the beginning phase,” said Huizar, who expects the existing project master plan to be completed by March or April. “We’re unsure on the exact timeline of when we will get started. We are still trying to figure out what we want to see in this new center and are still looking for funds for the business and retail portions.”
On Thursday, Huizar received approval from council to put out a notice of intent for the community portion. The community is invited to attend the first ever community outreach session on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Pleasanton Civic Center.
“We want the community’s input on what they want to see in this new center. This is something we want everyone to enjoy as it is going to bring not just economic development to the city, but extend our quality of life and bring in new businesses,” said Huizar. “We want that Pearl and La Cantera feeling, and while we might not have the acreage, we can definitely expand on it and begin a business hub on Main Street which will hopefully extend onto Bensdale.”
Keep an eye out in future issues of the Pleasanton Express as more details unfold on this developing project.