From the Livermore News: Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2018 12:00
The William Payne Sports Park Master Plan and Sunset Park Playground Plan drew unanimous votes. Both parks were designed by RRM Design Group.
The sports park is located on a 14-acre parcel at the intersection of Patterson Pass Road and South Vasco Road. During the outreach process, an agreement was reached with user groups to move the baseball fields on the site to the Robert Livermore Community Center and the BMX Bike Course to Sunken Gardens Park.
The new design includes synthetic turf athletic fields with lighting and fencing, covered futsal courts, multi-use natural grass areas, play areas with a shade canopy, picnic facilities, a restroom, a group fitness area with a shade canopy, 285 parking stalls and a walking loop.
The synthetic turf areas will accommodate football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse and cricket.
Director David Furst questioned the use of synthetic turf since participants in outreach events favored natural grass.
The RRM consultant explained that participants also requested greater access to the fields. Synthetic turf will hold up better with more use.
The estimated cost of the new design is $18.5 million. No funding or timeline to build the redesign have been identified.
The previous Sunset Park Playground, 20 years old, was removed in 2017 as part of the process to save a 200-year-old valley oak tree in the park. Original plans for playground replacement included three separate areas along a “Play Trail” pathway, with separate areas for ages 2 to 5 and ages 5 to 12.
Lief McKay, principal of RRM, told the board that during public outreach, there was a clear consensus for a nature tree house theme in the new design.
Three-fourths of the participants expressed a preference for an option that includes a big tower and is heavy on active, adventurous play. McKay said he asked one youth, who voted for this option, why he did so. He replied, “It looks like there is more to do.”
In addition to the tower, there are swings, a UFO shaped swing, apparatus for climbing and balancing, and cubby houses for smaller kids, among other amenities. “It focuses on play value,” said McKay.
Directors Maryalice Faltings and Beth Wilson suggested that the four swings are not enough.
Board members questioned mixing uses for younger and older children. McKay commented that mixing them up can be better socially. “Everyone is in the same area.”
Other concerns related to the ground cover, with a rubber based option preferred over manufactured wood.
The budget to build the plan shows $1.2 million. Mathew Fuzie, General Manager, called it a realistic budget to get the product we want without having to augment it.
David Furst will serve as the new chairman, Jan Palajac as the vice chairman. The process to select the officers follows a set of criteria. Under the rules, the current vice chairman becomes chairman; the longest-serving board member who has not served as vice chair or chair becomes the vice chairman.