By Colin Walsh
The City of Davis Parks department delivered as promised and the Arroyo Zipline is back up and zipping. Even so the Change.org petition to reopen the zipline permanently has continued to gather signatures.
This afternoon I found several Davis Parks employees restoring the zipline to operation. They reattached the swings and I witnessed them squirting large amounts of lubricant onto the tracks. Even Martin Jones, the Superintendent of Davis Parks, was there. They were smiling and clearly happy to be restoring the equipment.
Interestingly, the lock up mechanism is no more than a beefy chain and pad lock. Jones described the lock down plan for me. A City Parks Employee will unlock the zipline every morning and a Davis Fire Department Employee will lock up the zipline every night.
Considering the unusual arrangement with the Fire Department to help with daily locking the zipline equipment I asked, “what if any other role do the Davis firefighters play in daily park operations?”
Mr. Webb replied, “They do not play a direct role but will be assisting with night lock up on an interim basis as we evaluate longer term options.” Thus, it seems clear this is the only such arrangement with the fire department to help with daily park operations.
Webb then addressed what the cost to the City would be for the lock/unlock procedure each week:
“Parks staff inspect and do routine safety maintenance on parks every day so the morning unlocking adds no cost as parks staff is already on site each morning. There would be no additional staff costs for the fire department to lock at night (again, as an interim measure) as they are a 24/7/365 operation. There may be marginal costs associated for vehicle transport to and from the site to the extent that they are not already out in the field (which they often are) when locking. Additional eyes and ears on the park is a side benefit - even if interim. There is an ‘opportunity cost’ to their time - but again, it is interim and takes literally a few minutes.”
Is the nightly heavy chain lock up a permanent solution for the zipline noise problem?
Webb went on to state “We will be monitoring to gauge its effectiveness and will gauge whether long term locking is necessary. It is important at this time as a means of establishing use patterns of the equipment that are in keeping with normal park operating hours.” This solution was arrived at “through staff discussion. This is the only solution to practically preclude after hours use which was occurring at 11PM and 2AM. As noted above it is a means of helping establish appropriate use hours, coupled with the signs.”
The Davisite received additional clarification from Parks and Community Services Director Dale Sumersille. Sumersille informed us that the “Arroyo Park project was completed and the equipment was open to the public on April 24,” and the sky track closed on May 18th. The track closed “due to concerns raised including noise and after hour use (11PM and 2AM)”
When asked whether noise for neighbors was a design consideration, Sumersille responded, “Yes. Prior experience with nearly identical equipment installed last year at Pioneer Park with no complaints received provided a good track record of the equipment being compatible with residential areas.”
Sumersille also addressed the cost of the project broadly, “The overall cost for the Arroyo, Evergreen Greenbelt, Covell Greenbelt #20 and Slide Hill Parks playground renovation projects cost is $369,905 (of which $100,000 is a grant from Gametime, and $55,533 is park development impact fees).” But, the City did not break out the cost for the zipline alone.
Around 5pm tonight I saw a father with his children playing with the zipline.