People are sounding off about a plan that would remove The Rapids water slides in Pleasanton to make way for more trails, plants and picnic areas at the Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area.
The slides have been a fixture at the park for 30 years, but their long-term future is in doubt after the East Bay Regional Park District voted unanimously in early May to approve a land use amendment plan that calls for removing the slides and replacing them with other park amenities.
The district acknowledged the plan is years away from becoming reality, and it lacks the funds for the project.
However, residents in the region are asking why even consider the water slide closure when there are plenty of trails and picnic areas around here, but the closest waterslides are in Concord? The waterslides in Manteca were closed a few years back.
Some people have taken to the slides' Facebook site to voice their opposition and more than 1,000 people have signed an online petition against removing the slides.
“They have so many trails around here,” said Ananda Laberge of Pleasanton, as she watched her kids go down the slides Sunday afternoon – the first weekend the slides have been open. “This is a great atmosphere and a healthy environment.”
Laberge and her husband, James, usually come a dozen times each summer. She said the slides are good fun and good exercise for the kids. She notes after they slide down the 500-foot-long slides, children have to walk all the way back to the top of the hill to slide again.
“It’s a summer ritual,” James Laberge said. “This is something kids embrace.”
Annika Laberge, 9, the Laberge’s oldest daughter, said she isn’t happy about the decision to close the slides.
“I’m really upset. I’ve been coming here a long time and it’s fun,” Annika said. “It’s always exciting.”
Kaylee Dillon, 9, was celebrating her birthday with her family and friends at the slides Sunday. And she said she would miss them.
“I’d rather have the waterslides. They’re really fun slides with tunnels and drops,” Kaylee said.
“I think there is a need and a want for the waterslides,” said Kaylee’s mother, Lori Dillon. “It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s close to home, and there’s nothing else like it that isn’t at least 30 or 40 minutes away.”
Practically every summer day the slides are packed with children’s camps. Even adults can’t get enough of the slides at times, waterslide park officials said.
Chris Mevins, 35, is one of those grown-up slide junkies. He said he makes the trek from his Fremont home to the slides almost every summer weekend.
“They should always have these (slides),” Mevins said.
Comments against the plan have also poured in on previous Patch.com articles.
Jennifer Christensen, a single mother of two girls, ages 12 and 15, in Pleasanton, was shaking her head about the park district’s decision.
“The waterslides were a place me and my girls could go, spend less than $20 all day and have a great time,” Christensen wrote on Patch.com.
“I actually feel really safe bringing kids here because it is something we have done together. It has a this hometown feeling. It’s not this genormous park,” Christensen said in a phone interview.
Long-time Pleasanton resident Ed Heacox, who is also the father of two girls, wrote on Patch, “more picnic tables and trails – you kidding? Why destroy a local icon?”
“It seems like a lot of people enjoy the waterslides, so why destroy something good while trying to make something better?” Heacox said. “Make the park better and the slides better at the same time. It doesn’t make sense to me.”