Study continues on reopening waterslides | September 28, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - September 28, 2012

Study continues on reopening waterslides

Park District getting ready to ask for project bids

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

A report on the Shadow Cliffs waterslides has concluded that the popular facility could be reopened after repairs are made to the mechanical equipment, plunge pools, decks, fences and electrical gear, and to the slides themselves.

"The four-slide complex that is Shadow Cliffs is over 30 years old and exhibits a significant list of deficiencies after all these years while at the same time providing signs of tenacious durability," according to the report by Water Ventures, a water park developer based in Lake Forest.

In order to be successful, according to Water Ventures, the facility should in the future offer more opportunities for water play, such as wave pools, leisure pools and lazy rivers. But improvements needed before reopening the current facility would total $885,100.

"The cost estimate for the renovation work would be $1.4 million when you add up all the engineering costs, permitting, inspection," said Jim O'Connor, assistant general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, who reviewed the report with the district operations committee Sept. 20.

"In our opinion, this site is an excellent venue for such a water park," the report also stated.

The next step is for the Park District to develop a request for proposals so companies can submit bids to renovate the popular facility. Water Ventures offered to prepare this package for $6,800, noting it is not a candidate to develop the facility.

But after an outcry from the community, the Park District Operations Committee will review the request at its Oct. 10 meeting, then it will be posted and the Park District will wait for bids on the project, O'Connor said.

"They will be due back to us sometime in mid to late November, then in January we'll take our recommendations to the committee," O'Connor said. "If it's approved to move forward we'll take it to the full board in February."

O'Connor was doubtful that the waterslides could reopen for the 2013 season since the developer would need to have funding in place to get permits, including a building permit from Pleasanton, health and safety permits as well as others from the county that would require inspections.

"It's a hybrid between a public pool and an amusement park," O'Connor noted. "State laws will apply as well."

The Rapids Waterslides was opened in 1981 by Glenn Kierstad under a 25-year contract. After its expiration, the operation continued with year-to-year agreements.

Inspections last winter, when the waterslides were always closed, led the Park District to conclude that the facility had too many safety issues to open for the 2012 season. Park administrators recommended at a March meeting that the slides be closed permanently in light of the fact that the district's long-term land use plan called for them to be phased out in another 10 years.

The Park District instead instructed staff to reevaluate the site and put out bids for its renovation/rebuilding and operation.

At a meeting held at the Veterans Memorial Building in Pleasanton in June, Mimi Waluch, revenue and administration manager with the Park District, said the district had estimated it would cost $6.4 million to replace the facility, but original operator Kierstad also addressed the committee to say he estimated it would cost $280,000 to bring the facility up to snuff. He also explained that when he was put on a year-to-year lease he could not afford to make capital improvements.

The concession area is about 3.5 acres and includes the four waterslides, a maintenance building, office, storage, separate men's and women's restrooms with dressing areas and lockers, and a picnic area with a shade structure, picnic tables and barbeques. Structures also must be made ADA compliant.

"It was great facility for many, many years, especially for the folks in Pleasanton," O'Connor said. "But my job is to make sure that what happens in the future will be safe."

The report will be on the Park District website,, this week, said O'Connor.


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