Commission to consider renaming Sports Park for Ken Mercer tonight

Parks & Rec must decide if 5-year 'waiting period' should be waived

The Pleasanton Parks and Recreation Commission will meet tonight to consider a proposal to rename the city's Sports Park for the late Mayor Ken Mercer.

The issue surfaced at the Feb. 4 meeting of the City Council following an earlier suggestion by Mayior Jerry Thorne to honor Mr. Mercer, possibly by renaming the the park in his honor.

Mr. Mercer, who served on City Council 14 years, many as mayor, died Jan 14. He was largely responsible for obtaining the land that now holds most of the city's sports fields.

Thorne acknowledged that the city's policy requires a five year waiting period following the death of an individual, but noted that the public interest is not likely to diminish in that time and thought an exception might be in order.

That ruling, part of a 2004 resolution, stipulates that any "requests to name any park, recreation facility, or city-owned public facility after a specific individual will be considered no earlier than five (5) years after their death."

The issue for the commission on Thursday will be the precedent of changing the name of a park for a specific individual earlier than the five years' waiting period, a ruling decided and approved by a previous City Council in a resolution (Resolution 04-019).

Susan Andrade-Wax, director of Community Services, advised the commission that it has four options:

1. Approve a one-time exception, and allow for the park to be re-named after the late Mayor

Ken Mercer; or

2. Approve the fabrication and installation of a recognition plaque that is located in the park,

describing the important role that Mayor Ken Mercer played in obtaining and/or

developing the parkland; or

3. Pursue revising the City's current "Policies for Naming Parks, Recreation Facilities, and

Other City-Owned Public Facilities" in order to facilitate the request; or

4. Deny the request.

"Although it is difficult at this point to completely analyze the costs associated with a potential name change, the impacts would appear to be minimal," Andrade-Wax states in the agenda packet for Thursday's meeting.

These would include changes in city publications and other marketing collateral pieces, such as the Activities Guide, city's website and brochures, as well as park signage. However, replacement park signs have been funded in the past through the Park Renovation Fund, and the various marketing publications are updated on a regular basis.

The commission won't make a decision on changing the name at its meeting. It's been asked, instead, to provide feedback and ultimately designate a direction it would like city staff to pursue in considering the name change request.

The commission meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.


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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2014 at 11:45 am

The five year rule is a good one. Why not name the park after a military vet that sacrificed for our freedom!!?

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Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 7, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Naming the park after Ken Mercer is a fantastic idea and a very appropriate tribute!

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Posted by Lisa
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 8, 2014 at 7:22 am

I agree with "Jack" that naming the park after Ken Mercer is a fantastic idea! Ken contributed so much to Pleasanton.

Here are a few examples you might not know:
• Ken served as a city council member from 1976-92, including ten years as our mayor. Imagine the hours he volunteered!
• During Ken’s term in city government Pleasanton developed three of our largest assets: Stoneridge Shopping Center, Hacienda Business Park, and Pleasanton Sports Park. This improved forever our city’s revenue stream.
• Mature trees from the business park site were moved – at Ken’s suggestion – to THE SPORTS PARK, thereby transforming the donated land “instantly” into a place of beauty for athletes and other community members to enjoy.
• Ken’s civic service extended well beyond our city boundaries as other jurisdictions sought his advice. He has provided leadership on boards dealing with regional water quality, traffic congestion, solid waste management, adult education, and economic development.
• Beyond these many organizations, Ken had consistently been the kind of person who does the right thing, and inspired other to do so. He raised funds for many worthy causes.
• After retirement, Ken took on the role of president of the ValleyCare Hospital Foundation, the fund-raising arm of the local non-profit hospital. No patient is turned away, regardless of ability to pay.

I'm thankful for forward-thinking and dedicated civic leaders like Ken Mercer. To rename that park in particular is extremely fitting!

Like this comment
Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Apr 8, 2014 at 8:17 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

It's not a bad idea as long as all the funds used to alter all the existing signage, etc. is paid for by donations and worked on by volunteers.

Like this comment
Posted by Diane L Scott
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 8, 2014 at 8:46 am

This is one of the best ideas Pleasanton has come up with in years. It is well deserved, Ken did so many great things for Pleasanton and the people should be greatful and this would be a great way to show their graditude.

Like this comment
Posted by Ken Fan
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 8, 2014 at 9:10 am

Ken was amazing and a great example to all of us in Pleasanton. My suggestion would be to place a memorial plaque at the park - shown in the story as the 2nd option.

A memorial like that is fitting and proper. Don't think Ken would want to have the city pay for all the changes required to re name a park after him. He enjoyed our Pleasanton Sports Park.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 8, 2014 at 9:23 am

That's an excellent idea. However perhaps Ken's family/friends would most likely appreciate knowing that the ball park is named in his honor...perhaps?

A good deed is always appreciated!

Like this comment
Posted by Volunteerism
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 8, 2014 at 3:30 pm

I, my brother, my neighbors and more work to make the park great. If he donated the land, then I would feel differently, but no please don't name the park after Mr. Mercer.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Volunteer Park? Not bad.

Has anybody considered naming the park in honor of military veterans? They put their lives in harms way for our country...Veterans Park? Veterans have give their lives to maintain our country's values. VETERANS PARK has a nice ring!



Like this comment
Posted by Cate
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Cate is a registered user.

I like the suggestion by Ken Fan. I agree that a memorial park sign would be more fitting and cost the city a lot less money. I like to acknowledge people's effort but I dislike naming things, events, etc., after people because it is ostentatious. I like Cholo's idea, but we already have a Veteran's Park downtown...tiny as it is. If there is a move to change the name, I think it should be after someone who died for this area in any of our wars, otherwise, leave it to save the money for more necessary items. There are still too many people out of work in this area and it seems disingenuous to throw money at all the name, map, etc., changes required for a name change when there are people struggling.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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