San Lorenzo Community Park still will have a duck pond, but probably not the three-acre body of water that exists today in the center of the park.
The park, informally known as the Duck Pond, was the subject of a contentious meeting Monday as the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board considered the future of the park on the west side of San Lorenzo near the shoreline.
More than 50 residents showed up at the work session, where RRM Design Group architects presented two proposed park master plans based on community feedback.
After residents finished speaking, the board directed RRM to tweak a plan containing a roughly one-acre pond in an area farther south in the 31-acre parcel.
The proposal also moves baseball fields from the southern portion of the park to the northwest. It would add a bocce ball court and a splash pad, which is a water play area, more trees and about 100 parking places.
HARD has been trying to figure out how to clean up the Duck Pond, which is overrun by ducks and geese. The birds' droppings create a mess on the sidewalks and field and pollute the pond.
"I've been to that park a million times. It's in a mess" because of the ducks and geese, said board president Dennis Waespi. "I think the pond is nothing but a detriment."
Residents spoke for more than hour, with many urging the board to keep the pond the way it is, and focus on cleaning it up.
"We need to clean up the pond,"
Others who use the sports fields praised the plans that were reviewed Monday.
Waespi and board members Louis Andrade and Carol Pereira said they preferred the proposal with a one-acre pond. Board member Minane Jameson was absent.
Board member Paul Hodges abstained from the informal vote after saying that he thought there needed to be another meeting with residents before a decision was made.
"I don't like the idea of hearing a lot of voices we haven't heard before," he said. "I want to make sure they're heard."
Several audience members started shouting after the informal vote, saying that the board was ignoring what they had said. But Waespi and Andrade said it was time to make a decision.
RRM has been working with the district for several months on the park's master plan. District officials and RRM held two meetings with the San Lorenzo Home Owners Association earlier this year to hear what the residents would like to see at the Duck Pond.
Scenarios proposed earlier included greatly reducing the size of the pond or filling it in.
The latest plans presented Monday both had a water feature. One proposal had a small pool, and the other had the one-acre pond.
"Clearly people wanted to see something with water in it," said Jeff Ferber of RRM.
Resident Debbie Hanson said she was concerned that the plan with its added amenities would attract even more people to the area. "Every weekend, hundreds of cars come down Via Buena Vista" to get to the park, she said.
Ferber said RRM architects would look at suggestions made at Monday's meeting as the plan is refined. RRM will bring back an updated plan to the board later this year.
"Go forth and make a great park," Waespi said.