Community effort to ‘Save Donlon Field’ | News

Donlon Elementary parents and neighborhood residents recently held a rally to appeal to the school district and raise awareness in the community of their desire to retain all of the large green spaces and playgrounds on campus that are considered an option for new potential accommodations. .

The April 24 event at Val Vista Park across from the back of campus was organized by a group of concerned parents like Colleen Hake in hopes of saving the 8.3-acre Donlon lot as a green space for elementary students to play and succeed. optimal development in their youth, as well as for community use outside of school hours.

“There is scientific evidence that the mental, physical and emotional health benefits of green spaces for children are significant,” Hake told The Weekly.

“I think a big part of our event was just raising awareness that it was on the (city’s) housing list,” she added.

The Donlon Elementary field was among nearly two dozen properties across Pleasanton shortlisted for environmental review in the city’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation Site Inventory List for potential residential development. The final inventory list will be approved as part of the process to finalize the city’s housing element update.

Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the Pleasanton Unified School District, noted that the concept of converting part of Donlon Field into housing is in its early stages and could take years to materialize. The district would have to sell the land for any development to take place, and the proposal would have to go through public processes at the district and city levels.

The topic will be discussed at a special PUSD board meeting on the District Facilities Master Plan scheduled for May 19.

“As always, we encourage families and community members to learn more by watching and participating in these meetings, as all conversations regarding the use of district property are conducted publicly to allow for community engagement. community,” Gannon said.

“Right now, we are more focused on giving Donlon students access to green space, which is what parents and the Donlon community have asked us to do, so we are happy to do that for Donlon students” , he added, referring to the adjustments being considered for the new campus fence.

PUSD administrators Steve Maher and Kelly Mokashi, along with city mayor Karla Brown, were among those in attendance at the April 24 event in Val Vista, and they each hung out and interacted with the crowd, according to Hake.

“They spoke to so many in the community that Sunday, and everyone really gave them their thoughts on what’s going on in our part of Pleasanton,” Hake said.

Feedback on attending has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Hake, a mother of two and former NASA engineer and Navy veteran.

Preparation for the community event began a few months ago with the distribution of flyers throughout the neighborhood, but despite this, the organizing group of parents was surprised by the participation of about 300 people, Hake said.

Including the outreach angle, the event featured games for kids where robots provided treats to children, including raffles, according to Hake. Community members showed their support by donating products for the event for raffle prizes.

One of the concerns of parents at Donlon Elementary is that children will lose their playground and be forced to play on black roofs, which could cause more injuries from falls and overheating issues in hot weather, for example. compared to the grass field, according to Hake. They also expressed concerns about the accessibility of the grounds, for students and the community, in light of a new security fence installed by the district over the past year.

Gannon told The Weekly that the district plans to move the fence that currently sits between the Donlon asphalt and the field to create an accessible green space for the school community. This new enclosed green space would provide at least 3 acres – larger than two football pitches – which will make it easier for the school to supervise students safely, he said.

“We’re moving it, so some of the existing land would be fenced off as part of the school and tarmacked,” Gannon said. “That would be the area minus the 5.5 acres that is potentially being considered (for future residential use).”

A key issue with the 8.3-acre Donlon course “is that it is too large and the school cannot reasonably provide adequate supervision to allow students to play the course safely,” according to Gannon. , who noted that the result is the area would then sit there largely unused by the district.

The large lot would require supervision, and according to Gannon, the request for parent volunteers from the school did not receive enough response.

“So my question to parents who want the whole pitch is, what are you doing to ensure (safety)? It doesn’t seem like they’re stepping in so their kids can use the pitch during the day,” Gannon said.

Donlon Elementary School is nestled in the Val Vista neighborhood northwest of the intersection of West Las Positas Boulevard and Hopyard Road. The front of the school is on Dorman Road, but the part in dispute is the land behind the campus along Denker Drive and Payne Road.

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