PLEASANTON -- The city will push ahead with a $16 million plan to add three all-weather play fields and a 40-acre wooded nature area to the Bernal Community Park.

The Pleasanton City Council last week approved schematic drawings for the improvements within the mostly empty 318-acre community park across from the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Council members were divided about whether a long-discussed new dog park should be developed within the 40-acre oak woodland area. In the end, the council approved the plan without the dog park and directed city staff to come up later with a dog park site somewhere else within the large community park.

"I want a dog park on the Bernal property," Mayor Jerry Thorne said in response to several speakers' frustration about the lack of progress in delivering a dog park.

City Manager Nelson Fialho said if the city were to propose a dog park within the oak woodland area, the plan would have to go before voters. A dog park, he said, was not included in a description of park improvements that Pleasanton voters approved in a 2006 ballot measure on the Bernal Community Park Phase II Specific Plan.

Construction on the three play fields and the woodland area could start in 2014 and take some two years to complete, said Steve Bocian, the assistant city manager. Bids should be ready to advertise this spring, he added. The three artificial turf play fields, bathrooms and picnic tables on some 16 acres will cost some $12.6 million to build.

Officials estimate it will cost $3.6 million to develop the woodland area with many trees, walking paths and a boardwalk for people to walk over a small stream flowing across the property.

"You will have a complete facility that is truly a central park," said Bill Harris, a landscape architect working on the park design. "The idea is very ambitious."

Much of the 318-acre Bernal Community Park is used to grow hay, although a lighted ball field was built in 2010.

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