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New pocket park for Alamo?

Recreation committee considers new park off Iron Horse Trail

Unused land adjacent to the Iron Horse trail may become Alamo's newest park.

At an Oct. 2 meeting, members of the Citizens Advisory Committee for R7A discussed the possibility of purchasing a one-acre parcel of land currently owned by the Contra Costa Fire Protection District.

Committee Chairwoman Nancy Dommes said that R7A is a county service area for parks and recreation that operates under the umbrella of the Contra Costa County Public Works Department.

"The Public Works guys work with the Board of Supervisors. We have an idea, we discuss it in committee and wait for public input," she explained. "If we vote to make a recommendation we approach our District 3 supervisor."

At issue is a one-acre parcel on the corner of Danville Boulevard and Hemme Avenue, which has stood vacant for some time. The Fire District purchased the property in 2005 and demolished the house that was still standing. An appraisal has put its value at around $1 million.

Committee member Steve Mick said that he had discussed the purchase with the East Bay Regional Park District. Mick said the Park District has said it would be willing to partner on the creation of the park but not on the purchase of the land.

It is too early to have an overall plan for the land if it is acquired, but Mick said he has some ideas.

"Not too much of a vision yet, just some half-baked thoughts," he said. "Low maintenance, kind of an intersection of hiking trails and so forth. We don't know, but we would like to get a lot of community input."

Committee members directed county staff to determine if the Fire District had interest in selling the land.

Comments

Posted by Just me, a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2008 at 7:46 am

Dear Geoff,

That corner of Hemme and Danville Boulevard already faces exceptional traffic issues due to the commercial operations of the SRV YMCA just across the boulevard and Rancho Romero School just up the street. Placing a park in the Hemme neighborhood seems to add insult to injury and provides the potential gathering place for teens exiting the YMCA after closing hours.

There are exception downsides to such considerations of a park. Is that trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P and its stands for PARK?

Just me


Posted by Geoff Gillette, a resident of Danville
on Oct 21, 2008 at 9:16 am

I can just see it now. All those teens congregating in the park, singing "76 Trombones".

Or if they have gang affiliations perhaps they might belt out a few ditties from "West Side Story"

Thanks for the morning chuckle

Geoff Gillette
Danville Weekly


Posted by Steve Mick, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 21, 2008 at 9:16 am

Dear Geoff,

The writer brings up some good points. As I envision it, the park would not have any parking spaces and therefore there would be no added vehicular traffic. Since this parcel is located directly on the Iron Horse Trail it could serve as a rest and lunch area for trail users. It is also near the trailheads on Camille Avenue, Hemme Avenue, and South Avenue and is near the intersection of the Las Trampas to Mt. Diablo Regional Trail.

The concept is still in the preliminary stages and the community will have ample opportunity to be involved in all stages of the process.

Please note that I live within a quarter mile of the proposed park.

Best,
Steve Mick


Posted by Hal Bailey, a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2008 at 9:48 am

Dear Geoff,

Among the many Iron Horse corridor neighbors that walk the Iron Horse Trail, the various benches and rest areas become meeting places for casual discussions and some to-go coffee conversations. The small rest area at Stone Valley Road and the trail is a good example. Another is the tables near the trail at the church between Cervato and Hillgrade.

As Steve points out, creating a design purpose for the park as an Iron Horse rest stop and neighborhood gathering place seems focused enough to stop any downside usage. Keeping the facilities aimed at individual usage and not group events will lower parking impact on neighborhoods already overly-impacted. Keeping the park very open to view night and day will keep it from being an after-hours meeting place. And lighting the park would allow constant view by neighbors.

The remaining downsides would be proximity to neighbors homes and creating a buffer area to keep visitors a sufficient distance from the neighbors properly line and privacy. Easily done with low growing schrubs and ground cover, such buffer zones can protect neighbors' privacy. In fact, a park that was more low growing foliage than visitor space would be an overall plan to keep the usage aimed at the Iron Horse Trail users and neighbors' enjoyment.

Something to think about for R-7A in Diablo Vista region neighborhoods that generally oppose pocket parks and specifically in the Hemme neighborhoods that have been significantly impacted by the YMCA and a school.

Hal


Posted by Karen Sexton, a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Dear Iron Horse neighbors,

In general, response from neighbors along the Iron Horse Trail from Concord to Pleasanton has been against pocket parks that would formalize the appearance of the trail and detract from the natural settings along the trail. Neighbors along the Iron Horse Trail from Rudgear to Love Lane specifically wish to maintain the natural, native growth along the trail and minimize benches and other distractions.

If pocket parks are to be considered, they should be native plants in natural settings with very limited seating and structures. Lawns, play structures and other formal park development should be avoided.

Karen Sexton
Iron Horse neighbors
Diablo Vista region


Posted by Susan, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 24, 2008 at 9:22 am

I live on a street off of Hemme. I think the land is best suited for the Fire Department and would like to have it set aside for that purpose. We were thrilled when we heard they purchased the land.

The congestion on that street from the school is high. We had to put a "keep clear" sign in front of our street just so we can get out in the morning to go to work. Due to the high congestion, I do support putting a park, parking lot, etc on this corner.


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