By Colin Walsh
On May 20 the City of Davis disabled the large brand new zipline playground equipment in Arroyo Park apparently in response to noise complaints from neighbors. The substantial over 30-foot-long equipment was only just opened at the end of April but was already quite popular with parents and kids. Since closure just 4 days ago, already a change.org petition titled “Permanently bring back the Arroyo Park ziplines” has received 248 signatures.
Neighborhood sentiment was easily visible on Facebook and Nextdoor with many posts urging the City to reopen the Zipline.
Davisite sought comment from the City of Davis and staff replied, “Arroyo Park Sky Track Will Reopen”
Staff goes on to say, “City staff has worked together with the equipment manufacturer to take measures to help address concerns that were raised, including lubrication of the track joints, installation of rubber stop blocks at the points where the zip line ends, and installation of a lock and signs to ensure use occurs from 8 a.m. to sunset.” It is unclear how the City will address the lock. Having a City employee unlock and lock the zipline 7 days a week would not be an insignificant cost over years.
Staff further stated, “The Sky Track will be open for use on Friday, May 24 [today]. We believe the measures taken are a prudent means to fine tune the equipment and to reasonably address the concerns raised. We appreciate your understanding and patience and hope you enjoy the play structure.”
Additionally City Manager Mike Webb indicated the zipline, "has been temporarily closed since Sunday [5/19] so that we can address concerns that were raised about noise of the equipment and late night after hours use (11PM, 2AM)."
However, the City declined to answer the following questions,
- When were they opened?
- Was noise for neighbors a design consideration?
- How much did they cost?
An earlier City of Davis press release has been removed from the City website, but the search preview shows that the playground renovation at Arroyo was planned for Monday, March 11 to Saturday, March 30, 2019, but the City of Davis Parks and Community Services Facebook page shows the new equipment was completed no sooner than almost a month late on April 25th.
The Change.org petition wasted no time making the case for keeping the popular new equipment. The petition points out the extensive community involvement in designing the park over the past year. The petition states, “Many of us filled out surveys and read the City Council agendas that discussed park improvements.”
However, the petition also devalues neighborhood noise complaints stating, if “[T]he final design plans for Arroyo Park were posted on site at the park for about a month before construction began. If other neighbors had concerns about the equipment and potential for disruption to their lives – this was the time to voice those concerns. Not after it was installed.”
It is unclear how much if any information about the noise from the zipline was communicated to the community.
The petition also notes the high cost, “This one piece of park equipment appears to have cost City of Davis taxpayers at least $20,000 but possibly up to $25,000” City Manager Webb indicated at least some of the funding came from a grant.
The petition closes with, “Please PERMANENTLY BRING BACK THE ARROYO PARK ZIPLINES!”
Today the ziplines will reopen and hopefully be enjoyed by the kids of Davis for years to come, without keeping the neighbors up at night.
This article was updated 5/24/2019 at 2:22PM to include information from City Manager Mike Webb.