SAN LORENZO -- San Lorenzo Community Park will keep its beloved duck pond, but it will no longer be in the shape of Snoopy, and it will be downsized to a third of the current size.
A master plan for the 31-acre park, informally called the Duck Pond, was unanimously approved last week by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District directors. The plan calls for the pond, which will be 1.2 acres, to be moved to the southeast edge of the park and to have a fishing pier and bridge.
Michelle Clowser, a San Lorenzo resident who spearheaded a Save the Duck Pond effort, presented the board a petition with 2,977 signatures of residents and park visitors opposing the reduction in the pond's size. As an alternative, the group wanted a pond that would include another three-quarters of an acre that is designated open space in the master plan.
"We're giving up a 3-acre pond that's the basis of the park," she said, adding that she was incredulous that the board would ignore the wishes of so many people.
One of the goals of the master plan was to try to control the waterfowl that have overrun the park, defecating in the pond, the sidewalks and the softball and soccer fields. Many people feed the ducks and geese that congregate at the park near the edge of the bay. Park district staff members hope a smaller pond will reduce the waterfowl population.
"They want to turn it into an antiseptic sports park. You can't make that happen; it's right next to the wetlands," Clowser said.
The park will feature a mix of recreational features, including some new ones -- three bocce courts, an amphitheater, a snack bar, an additional restroom and more playgrounds.
"There will be about two miles of pathways throughout the park and an additional 100 parking spaces," said Larry Lepore, parks superintendent for the district.
Park district board President Dennis Waespi said the plan that was adopted was a compromise.
"I acknowledge the hard work, and the good work, that the Save the Duck Pond people did in their effort to save the duck pond," he said. "We did, in fact, compromise, and we will have a duck pond, and we will have a wonderful park."
Waespi said the next step was figuring out how to fund the improvements. "I don't know how we're going to do it yet, but now that we have a plan, we have something to work toward."
The park district also is developing master plans for two other parks: Kennedy in Hayward and Fairmont Terrace in the hills southeast of San Leandro. The district held community meetings on both parks, and the architect is drawing preliminary proposals based on those meetings, Lepore said. The next community meetings will be scheduled in about two months.
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473, or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.
To see the architect s drawing of the park s master plan, go to www.haywardrec.org/MasterPlanUpdates/SLCP/slcp.html.