Actually, it's the residents along Walnut Meadows Drive who will benefit most from the construction of park facilities in the southeast section of the Legless Lizard Preserve, which is along that street. The rest of the site will remain open space for the benefit of the tiny, snake-like silvery legless lizard, which has been dubbed a species of concern by the state.
Also slated for park amenities is the Teakwood neighborhood, perhaps with the addition of a par course around the basin area behind the Lucky shopping center between Teakwood Drive and the Summer Creek senior residential complex.
The parks are courtesy of a $537,000 grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development. In Oakley's grant application, three possible sites were listed: Vintage Elementary School, the Legless Lizard Preserve and the Teakwood neighborhood.
"Obviously, $537,000 is not going to get us three parks. It probably won't get us much of one park," City Engineer Jason Vogan told the City Council at its Dec. 10 meeting. "Our question tonight is, of those three, is there one where you would like us to focus more efforts than the others? Or would you like us to try to come up with a project for each site?"
All of the Council members favored using the money for the Lizard and Teakwood sites.
"Part of me is really concerned about the Legless Lizard Preserve, only because that neighborhood is so underserved," said Councilwoman Pat Anderson. "That and Teakwood seem like and like desires. I would like a project designed for each one of those.
"Give us the cost estimates and help us see if we have any money to supplement it or what not, because I want to do all of them. If I had to prioritize I would need more information. But those two stand out."
Councilman Brad Nix said, "Legless Lizard is my top priority. That neighborhood is so poorly lacking in just anything."
Mayor Bruce Connelley said he also favored the Legless Lizard site, and gave the nod to Teakwood over Vintage Parkway because it's been on the to-do list longer.
"I think they (Vintage and Teakwood areas) are pretty neck and neck anyway as far as the need," Connelley said. "But … Teakwood's been waiting longest."
The Teakwood park facilities would probably be shared by both the seniors and the kids in that area, said Vogan.
Oakley's government took possession of the Legless Lizard Preserve from the East Bay Regional Park District in June. The cost to maintain the property in its current state is estimated at less than $5,000 per year, according to a staff report.
Legless lizards make their homes in loose, sandy soil and have a tough time surviving in urbanized or agricultural areas where the soil is compacted. As a result, the Legless Lizard Preserve, which stretches for several blocks along Walnut Meadows, is fenced off from the intrusion of human legs.