PLEASANTON -- Hope for saving the Shadow Cliffs water slides stayed alive this week after a single recreation operator submitted a proposal to renovate and reopen the aging attraction.

The East Bay Regional Park District now must decide whether the business plan is a sound one worth carrying out at the privately built slides inside Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area.

"We need to evaluate the proposal to see if it's viable," said Jim O'Connor, the park district's assistant general manager for operations.

If no potential operators had responded by the 4 p.m. Thursday deadline to submit slide business proposals, park officials had said they likely would permanently close and dismantle the slides, as called for by a long-term Shadow Cliffs park management plan.

The 1981 four-flume slides are popular with young children, families and youth groups in the Bay Area, but age is catching up with them. The park district closed the slides last year after concluding they need about $885,000 in safety, structural and other renovations.

Park district managers recommended closing the slides forever, but the park board balked. Responding to a public outcry, the park board opted in March to postpone a decision about the future of the slides until the district could solicit business proposals to find a new operator.

Shortly before the 4 p.m. deadline Thursday, one firm came forward.

"We were disappointed we didn't get more proposals," O'Connor said, "but we'll see what we've got."

He wouldn't divulge the name of the outfit because he and his co-workers haven't had time to assess the company's plan and background.

The regional park board's operations committee is expected to discuss the slides in January.

Several Pleasanton residents have said it would be unfair to wipe out a family-friendly attraction that provides cool relief on sizzling summer days in the Tri-Valley area. About 25,000 to 26,000 people a year pay to use the slides, and many young people get part-time jobs there.

Regional park officials have said their agency cannot afford to rebuild the slides, which are smaller than those in most modern water slide parks.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.