BRENTWOOD -- With temperatures soaring each summer and new parks lacking mature trees, city leaders are continuing their quest to provide shade to park users through the Shade Improvement Project.

In sweltering Brentwood, athletic field spectators often have to bring an umbrella to brave a game, and playgrounds can be unbearable by 11 a.m.

"These areas are not usable for the entire summer in Brentwood," Brentwood Parks and Recreation Commission Chairwoman Sandy Myers said. "It is so hot that you have to think in terms of shade and water."

Five community parks will boast new shade structures this summer when the project is completed by the end of August. The parks that were selected are Oak Meadow, Balfour-Guthrie, Veterans, Blue Goose and the Sunset Park Athletic Complex.

Richard Soracco Jr., of Soracco Jr. out of Soda Creek, puts up a shade structure over the all abilities playground at Veteran’s Park in Brentwood on
Richard Soracco Jr., of Soracco Jr. out of Soda Creek, puts up a shade structure over the all abilities playground at Veteran's Park in Brentwood on July 17, 2014. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

"Shade has been a priority. We try to plant trees whenever possible in our parks to provide shade for our park users. However, trees can take many years to reach maturity," said Aaron Wanden, Brentwood's acting park/maintenance manager. "We cannot always depend on trees alone to provide shade over hard-to-reach places like bleachers and play equipment."

Blue Goose, a popular park because of its water feature that draws young children and families off O'Hara Avenue, will be receiving six shade structures. They will shade the toddler playground, a picnic table and two benches near the water feature.

Over at Veterans' All-Abilities Playground, shade structures will reflect the pirate theme there and provide shade over the pirate ship play structure. The park is meant to provide accessibility to children with various disabilities.


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In addition to providing shade to playground users, the shade project is intended to provide sun protection to athletes and spectators at popular parks. Oak Meadow's baseball fields will gain four shade structures, with one for each of the bleachers, and Balfour-Guthrie will get structures over each of the two bleachers at the baseball field.

Similarly, Sunset now has new shade structures over its various ball fields and soccer competition field. With all of the parks, the commission tried to select colors that matched the existing play structures and other equipment.

Previous shade projects have been led by the city, local residents and community organizations.

In 2004, the MOMS Club of Brentwood started a Crusade for Shade project to provide shading to Orchard Park. Its funding was combined with grant money and additional support from the city.

This citywide shade project was completely funded by Measure WW park bond funding from the East Bay Regional Park District.

Myers said park users should not have to suffer in the sun or bring their own shade to local parks. She would like to see water elements and shade structures in most or all of Brentwood's parks.

Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or pking@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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