Just in time for Alamo's summer concerts in the park, Livorna Park "opened" last week with playground, landscaping and barbeque area improvements. The park also now features a sandpit for younger children and is wheelchair accessible.
County Supervisor Mary N. Piepho and her staff joined the Alamo Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee to present the revamped park last Friday, before kicking off the year's first concert in the park. Parents spread out picnic blankets and brought food and drinks, while kids climbed and swung on the improved play structures.
"The county has been a partner, but really it's your community members bringing this to you," Piepho said before the ribbon cutting.
With a large open-air gazebo, sand volleyball courts, multi-use sport courts and modern playground equipment, Livorna Park is Alamo's largest and most popular park.
The country cover band Boothill played catchy hits while families lounged on the small hillside, bobbing to music and mingling as the sun went down.
"It's a safe place for kids to play while adults socialize. My 6-year-old is running around and I know he's OK," said Adina Holland, an Alamo resident, who meets with family friends for the summer concerts. "We've been coming for three years. We picnic at night, it's a fun thing."
While the music was the centerpiece of the night, it isn't the only reason Alamo folks come to concerts. In past years, children enjoyed a temporary tattoo stand and teenagers organized games for younger kids, parents explained. It's a treat for adults, too, who come to catch up with old friends and neighbors.
"It doesn't matter if the band is playing jazz, country or folk - it's the event, not the type of music that we come for," said Kim Friedman, who said she enjoyed chatting with friends.
Parks committee members, who worked closely with county public works to revamp the park, said they were pleased with its new look. In addition to being made compliant with the American Disabilities Act, some of the park's vegetation, which was destroyed by deer earlier in the year, has been replanted, committee members said.
"It looks wonderful - really prodigious. There is so much kids can do," said Steve Mick, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.
The summer concerts are a chance for Alamo families to gather at a nearby place with familiar faces. With recreation planner Valerie Matlock's recent leave, county staff member Victoria Skerritt is now running the show.
Three more summer concerts will be featured this year, which will be held July 13 and 27, and Aug. 10. All will be held at Livorna Park.
"We wanted the concerts on Alamo turf. It's an Alamo nexus," Mick said.
The next concert will feature the Silicon Valley Houserockers, a wailing rock band with a three-piece horn section. Then on July 27 the band 256 will play classic rock, salsa, funk and reggae from the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s. The last summer concert will boast Pan Extasy, a reggae and Caribbean jazz band, back by popular demand from last year.
"It's an excellent family night and it's free," Mick said.