No more waterslides for Shadow Cliffs | March 1, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 1, 2013

No more waterslides for Shadow Cliffs

Park District cannot find right vendor for popular summer facility

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

What a ride it has been but the popular waterslides opened in 1981 at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area will not be refurbished or rebuilt.

One vendor, Harvest Family Entertainment LLC of The Colony, Texas, made two proposals, said Jim O'Connor, assistant general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, but they did not meet the terms set by the district.

"They wanted the district to fund 80%," O'Connor said.

That would have meant the district paying $2.4 million for its share to replace the current facility on 3.5 acres with a new slide complex to include inner-tube and body slides; a new Splash Harbor recreation area featuring soft play attractions, kiddy slides, a lily pad walk and aqua basketball; and a new children's multi-level water play structure, plus new food and beverage buildings and restrooms.

A second proposal from Harvest Family Entertainment was to develop a total of 8-11 acres, adding a 20,000-foot wave pool and 1,000-foot lazy river; a family adventure park with zip lines, obstacle courses and mazes; and a multi-purpose building. Estimated construction costs were $10 million to $12 million, which would have meant the Park District paying $8 million to $9.6 million.

"The staff recommendation was to reject the proposals," O'Connor said. "They didn't meet the terms, which was full funding and future operations and maintenance."

At the Park District operations committee meeting Feb. 21, its members voted 3-0 to support the staff recommendation.

A long-range land use plan for Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area, approved by the Park District board of directors in May 2011, said the waterslides were expected to remain open for another 10 years. However, the facility was not reopened for the 2012 summer season after inspections last winter determined they needed extensive repairs.

The land use plan calls for removing the waterslide structures, then adding picnic sites with tables, benches, barbeques, shade shelter, wind screening and trees. It also calls for eventually adding a "splash pad" playground or other water-play area geared to families with young children.

"The committee is asking us to expedite the land use plan," O'Connor said, "but we currently have no funding to remove the existing waterslides and no funding to implement the plan."

Park District Board Member Ayn Wieskamp, who represents Pleasanton and Livermore, said removing the old slides is a priority.

"We will push to get that cleaned up, then probably reconfiguring the hill," she said, "then find the money to do the trails and what we can do for planting -- maybe find an organization or company to take it on."

Supporters of the waterslides attended previous Park District meetings to speak on their value during the hot summer months and as a place for teen employment, but O'Connor said no one from the public attended last Thursday's meeting.

The Rapids Waterslide was opened in 1981 by Glenn Kierstad under a 25-year contract. After its expiration, the operation continued with year-to-year agreements, which Kierstad has said prevented him from making improvements.

The facility covers about 3.5 acres with four waterslides, a maintenance building, office, storage, restrooms with dressing areas and lockers, and a picnic area.

Water Ventures, a water park developer based in Lake Forest, conducted a study of the facility last summer and concluded the "site is an excellent venue for such a water park," noting that in order to be successful, it should offer more opportunities for water play, such as wave pools, leisure pools and lazy rivers.

The Park District sent out a request for proposals with a deadline of Dec. 20, but only Harvest Family Entertainment responded.

"I think it will be missed," Board Member Wieskamp said. "This is a very hot area. And it was not just for young people but for families, for birthday parties. It served a very useful purpose, for the Tri-Valley especially."

"People liked the idea that it's a small facility," she added. "I think if someone was willing to spend money on it they could have made money on it."


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Posted by norm
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Mar 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Looks like the NO not here folks in Pleasanton got what they wanted the slides closed. No more laughing fun filled kids making noise at shadow cliffs. Oh yeah that is because a lot of the kids having fun were either Latino or Black. Can't have them here in lily white Pleasanton.
It is really too bad that the board bought into the reports that would not allow Glen Kierstad a long term lease. Then he might have been able to keep the improvements and repairs up to date.

Every board meeting, every council meeting any time the subject brought up the same group of NO NOT HERE, folks were there saying how bad traffic would be, how much noise would be generated. Well they won and now no more summer jobs for teens, no fun filled parties at the slides. I hope they are happy.

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Posted by Sonya Olson
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I must say that I am in shock to hear that the water slides will torn down and never to return. I have grown up in this valley and raised 1 1/2 daughters here too, and Shadow Cliff Water Slides has been a great little escape for us during the hot summer months. The water slides were practically my only summer time surprise for my girls mostly because they were so affordable, and me being a single parent that meant everything to us.

I don't think I would have liked it if they expanded the water park to a bigger facility. It was fine just the way it was. not too big I could keep track of my girls when after 10 or so trips up the cement winding road I soon became too tired to hike I keep find a spot off to side and let them do their thing.
It brakes my heart just knowing I have to tell my girls the water slides are gone.

8 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 15, 2016 at 5:31 pm

It's been 3 years now that the slides were torn out. It's still a big, dry, dead weed covered hill. No good, clean exercise for kids. No summer jobs for resident kids. No parking fees. Stupid move on the part of EBRPD Board Members to not let the operator rebuild.

6 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

No more waterslides, and we're gonna pay 11 million for a Costco. Way to go Pleasanton, awesome decisions.

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Posted by Tiny Tim
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 15, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Tiny Tim is a registered user.

Get the Facts needs to get the facts. The water slides are on County property. The City of Pleasanton had nothing to do with them leaving. The owner went out of business.

1 person likes this
Posted by Tiny Tim
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 15, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Tiny Tim is a registered user.

Sorry, The slides were actually on East Bay Regional Park District Property, but the city still had nothing to do with it.

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Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

I didn't say it was the "City of Pleasanton", I simply said "Pleasanton." I just find it representative of all that is happening in Pleasanton. Lots of blame - for lack of a better word - to go around.

6 people like this
Posted by local
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 15, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Sorry Tiny Tim, not quite right there.

Shadow Cliff Park is owned by the East Bay Regional Park District and requires the City of Pleasanton approval and permits for changes to the park. The operator applied to EB Parks to enhance the water slides to something that families today expect. That had to go for approval to the City of Pleasanton for a conditional use permit. The same people out against Costco (at least some of them) came out and protested the change to the water slides and it was very contentious. They claimed traffic from "outsiders" and people driving in from San Jose to come to our water park. The city ended up approving part of the water features after many hearings. It turned out that the operator had a hard time getting the needed investment once the park was scaled down. The investors were also spooked because of those opposing the park and felt that the residents of Pleasanton were going to make it hard for that park to make any upgrades/changes in the future.

Later on the park district met with the Pleasanton community and the community members that showed up (mostly from the neighboring houses) wanted no water slides but rather an interpretive center; which has no financing.

The water park would have been great for Pleasanton families and kids. It would have been paid for out of private money and no tax dollars and would have actually brought money in to the park to improve it.

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Posted by Not quite right either
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Aug 18, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Actually the real story is that several decades ago a Six Flags theme park was referenced near 680 and Foothill so this time, the city colluded with the developer to do a rezoning of the property for California Splash months before the actual proposal for the theme park was brought before the city council and process it instead with a conditional use permit which is not referendable. The owner of the water slides then posted to the Internet a proposal to sell the California Splash to a corporation while he told the public he was into the proposal for the long haul and would not sell it.

The developer claimed it would garner $ 400,000 in lease revenue for the EBRPD that differed from the amount EPRPD had negotiated. Around the same time the Manteca Water Slides announced their intention to close near the intersection of I 5 and I 205 due to the State's refusal to grant a permit to allow them to continue operations.

Pico, Ayala and Brozosky voted yes for the Theme Park that was not a scaled down version of the water park, but the exact same Theme Park that the Planning and Zoning Commission/Board had earlier denied. The developer then delayed building the park due to health reasons.

By the time the developer recovered, the insurance requirements for Water Parks had increased substantially due to deaths and accidents. The developer then asked EBRPD for funds to renovate the existing water slides. EBRPD refused and the unsafe facility was closed.

The developer asked to be subsidized by tax payer money after claiming he would be privately funded. EBRPD did try to solicit bids for another operator to come run the water slides, but there were no takers.

The existing slides were dismantled, and the Manteca Water Slides are now under water and closed. They are literally under a giant lake. Children and adults continue to be killed by water slides including an incident publicized nationwide a couple of weeks ago.

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Posted by local
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 18, 2016 at 3:30 pm

"Not quite right either", I was at the hearing and the council did not approve the full park. There was a lot of discussion and then Pico made a motion to approve a scaled down version of the plans. He actually said that he could support the full plan but was willing to cut some things back to gain more acceptance by the community.