Playground Comes to Life at Rancho Laguna Park

Community members come together to build long-awaited playground this week at Rancho Laguna Park, ribbon cutting ceremony this Saturday

This week, community members gathered at Rancho Laguna Park in Moraga to rebuild the park’s playground.

Service groups such as the Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club and Boy Scout Troops 246, 212 and 234 were involved with the building. The build began Monday, and is scheduled to end this Saturday.

The original playground was removed in May 2011 due to concerns over structural safety due to wood rot.

The contract for the new structure was $97,000, and East Bay Regional Park District Measure WW grant funds funded $70,000 of the project. Some funding for the project also came from community fundraising.

Jay Ingram, director of Moraga Parks and Recreation and project coordinator, said that the town staff was extremely grateful to the community members who came out to help build the playground, and that the help from the community was saving the town somewhere between $18,000 and $20,000 in building costs.

Community member Jon Chambers said he thought that it was a terrific project, and it was great to see the sense of community that came about through the project.

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the playground Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Lourdes June 22, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Jon Chambers June 23, 2012 at 01:09 AM
The structure and surrounding improvements are pulling together nicely. Thanks to all who helped today and during the week with the install, in particular Mayor Mike Metcalfe, and Councilmember Karen Mendonca. The service groups are doing a great job. Kids are already playing in the relocated train and station, and are eagerly awaiting the opening of the swings and new play structure.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 23, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Just got back from morning walk and took in the very impressive structure that has risen in the empty space vacated by the old play structure. This is the old structure on steroids. Not sure I'm up to taking on those slides! Hearty congrats and many thanks to all involved in the resurrection! This represents a lot of hard, exacting work and my grandkids will be very pleased! Not to beat a dead horse, but I wish they'd stop their claims of "structural safety due to wood rot" in the old structure. It was constructed of coated steel, plastic and concrete just like the new one. The only wood used in the park with wood/earth contact issues was the old exercise/stretching grid. That structure had seen better days and needed replacement of wood rotted elements. Too bad they didn't see fit to put that one back up as many of us used it to stretch and lubricate our aging frames. Many moons ago when it appeared that extraterrestrials had beamed up the play and exercise structures, I offerred to pay for the materials to reconstruct the exercise grid. That offer still stands. The North side of the park is now empty of useful structures except for a few picnic tables. And they seem to have installed a new double gate in the cyclone fence on the North boundary. Hmmmm.... Why clear the entire area? Why an access gate to an accessible area? Perhaps there is a plan in place to fence off a section of park for, say, an off lead dog pen?
Jon Chambers June 24, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Hi Fritz. Glad you like the new structure, and hope your grandkids enjoy it. There is at least 12 inches of really fluffy bark under the slide, so despite the height, it should be safe. I did a little research into the old structure, and learned it was a Timberform structure made with plastic and coated steel. However, it was supported by wooden 6 x 6 posts cemented directly into the ground. It was installed in the mid 80's, and apparently the posts rotted over time. The new structure is coated steel, all the way into the concrete, so should hold up much better. The double gate entry was installed for public works vehicle access and maintenance. I've heard from lots of parents that wanted the different, age appropriate structures on the same side of the park, and near the restrooms, so siblings could play near each other, and parents could supervise their kids properly. Understand that the Park/Rec Commission heard this at community meetings. Think this explains why the train and station were moved to the south side. Agree that the north side is relatively open at this point. To the best of my knowledge, there are no set plans for this area yet. Not everything at RLP is about the dogs. Perhaps some new exercise equipment would be a great addition. Let's celebrate the new structure, and enjoy a positive development, at least for a few days.
X June 24, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Many cities have enacted local laws or ordinances that ban people who aren't accompanied by a child (or children) from public playground area. Does anyone know if the Lamorinda area has one?
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 25, 2012 at 02:44 PM
"Hell is paved with good intentions." (a more pure rendition of the saying) In the modern world, where there is a law or regulation based on nearly every human foible, making changes to public entities requires a vetting so vast as to make even the simplest modification an opportunity for a Pandora's Box of opposing, similar or completely unrelated notions to raise their hungry voices. Traditions are simply one-time changes that stand the test of time because they serve most their users well, while garnering only small opposition. Given a little power, even the mildest, well-meaning sort may soon look to make his or her mark on their community. They usually do this by bucking a tradition. If it were possible to get to the very basic root of the initial impetus of unnecessary change, one usually will find many more things than a simple 'need' for change. It is so difficult to be a truly unselfish principled leader. Puffery soon trumps determination. RLP is just feeling the onset of the spin of a vortex that will drag her down the drain of disillusion and in a very short time she will be unrecognizable to those of us that love her sweet, simple serenity.
Justine Parmelee June 26, 2012 at 09:27 PM
When will the playground be open? We were over there this Sunday and, while beautiful, it's sectioned off with yellow tape. I'd love to be able to take the kids there to play. It would be nice to see something new on the other side of the park. Maybe a new exercise area reminiscent of the one that used to be there. Or maybe some tetherball. Or even a little doggie playground. Rancho Laguna remains my favorite park in Lamorinda despite all of the changes.
Jon Chambers June 26, 2012 at 09:48 PM
The structure wasn't opened over the weekend because the team setting the posts for the "add-on" parts (slides, stairs, climbing net, etc.) was still pouring concrete into the holes until late Friday afternoon, and the concrete needs time to cure before being subject to vibration from kids running and playing. Concrete typically takes two to three days to mostly cure, but keeps curing for up to 28 days. My guess is that the structure will open by midweek, if it's not already open. If it's not open by Wednesday, I'll check in with Park and Rec, and will post an update. I like your tetherball suggestion. There are still many opportunities to make Rancho Laguna an even better park. I love it too!
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop June 26, 2012 at 10:43 PM
As you seem to be de facto spokesman for the Town, Jon, why the silence about replacing the exercise grid? I found it useful and know of a couple people that used it daily and thoroughly during the 30 minute window I am there in the AM. I believe there is actually some science behind the design. I loved its simple functionality, offering as much possibility as one is willing to match with energy. Any plans to revive it, Jon?
Jon Chambers June 27, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Fritz, I try to limit my comments to topics on which I have actual information. I'm not aware of any plans to replace the exercise equipment-or to do anything else on the north side. That doesn't mean there aren't any plans, just that I don't know of any. I'm not a Town spokesman. I do try to read material on Town website, and in the About Town newsletter, which is usually very helpful.
Mike Huston July 02, 2012 at 02:20 AM
The new playground structure is pretty amazing. And with the new fencing it appears that we have spatial and temporal separation of park users. Both in the spirit of increasing RLP attractiveness to all community users. It would seem to me that the debate on spatial separation is now resolved. If only the Parks & Rec, Town Manager, and Council had taken this opportunity to extend the fencing around the adjacent picnic/camping area, we could all step away happily. But it's too late. The city council still has a decision to make and the options are two-fold and only two-fold; rescind the ordinance removing off-leash hours, or put a measure to the ballot. The end around by the Town Manager, who didn't even follow the Town Council's direction in how to solicit community input should put her on notice of perfomance improvement or termination.
Tina Chambers July 02, 2012 at 04:18 AM
If the play area and picnic areas are fenced, you have now fenced in everyone except off leash dogs and owners. They would have all the lawn. Fencing around the play structure is a new code requirement. Many people would also like to use the grass space during peak evening, or perhaps nice morning hours, and not be among dogs. Spacial separation for off leash dogs (fenced) is an acceptable and wide spread practice as dog parks grow in popularity, and creates the all community use that seems most fair (and healthier for the rest of park users) . Enjoying a picnic or family time in yet another fenced area while dogs run free on all the grass space seems we are prioritizing the dog's use of the park, not people's (and the people pay for the park). Fencing in those having a picnic does not create easy access to the lawn at all. A fenced area also creates all day off leash activity. Many have said this is a benefit when current hours don't work for their schedule. Why is a solution that allows all of these activites, all day, at RLP not acceptable? Back Forty at the Commons is catching people's attention and should be explored. Perhaps we can have a couple off leash, fenced dog parks?
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop July 02, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I say give Eclipse the North 40 to develop as they see fit. It is unused and more centrally located for the soccer kids from near and far. Has anyone paid attention to Piedmont's Blair Park soccer squabble? They have private mega money available to build a monster soccer facility. But it happens to be on that city's last piece of available land (Think RLP). It is being stopped in its tracks by folks unwilling to pave paradise. What is this compulsion about soccer? Baseball is the American Pastime!
2nd Generation Moraga July 02, 2012 at 03:43 PM
@Fritz: Ms. Chambers has framed this issue in uncharacteristic clarity: "If the play area and picnic areas are fenced, you have now fenced in everyone except off leash dogs and owners." Clearly this is not an option that accommodates ALL park users. Can you PLEASE explain why 1.9 acres of unrestricted off-leash area is not acceptable.
Tim Davis July 02, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Massive private money is also going toward the mega facility at Saint Mary's with some city leaders openly supporting the effort. Local sports clubs are already petitioning the college for use of the facilities and money is being waved around. Some city leaders have come out openly in support of such initiatives and college officials have had to take back statements made early in the process. The neighbors are not happy fro what I understand and there is a meeting tonight?? on the subject. Patch are you listening?


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