Preserving the Excellence of Hacienda's Environment

By now most residents of Pleasanton have become used to seeing the beautiful landscaping on Hopyard Road from Valley Avenue north almost to Owens Drive. And most residents have encountered the new installations being completed along Santa Rita Road from Pimlico Drive south to Mohr Avenue. But just who is it that is installing all of this landscaping and who is maintaining it?

The answer to the first question is The Prudential Insurance Company of America, co-developer of Hacienda Business Park, and the North Pleasanton Improvement District. The answer to the second question is the Hacienda Business Park Owners’ Association. On November 22, 1983, the City of Pleasanton entered into a 56-year Maintenance Agreement with the Hacienda Business Park Owners’ Association. This agreement was required in the 100 Conditions of Approval placed by the City on their approval of Hacienda Business Park’s Planned Unit Development (PUD-81-30). One section of this Maintenance Agreement covers the above mentioned landscaped areas, as well as parts of West Las Positas Boulevard, Stoneridge Drive, Old Santa Rita Road and of course all of the ‘intract’ streets running through the Park.

Environmental Care, Inc., (E.C.I.) One of the largest landscape maintenance companies on the West Coast performs all of the landscape maintenance for the Owners’ Association. This includes the ‘streetscapes’ mentioned, and the decorative intersections throughout the Park, together known as the ‘Common Areas’. E.C.I. also maintains all of the individual building sites currently in the Park, although these contracts are with the owners of the buildings.  However, these overlapping contracts allow them to run five full time crews of two to four members each to the mutual benefit of all concerned. One crew may be assigned several building sites and the common areas adjoining them. This way everything gets the personal attention of crew members very familiar with their area.

Brenda Condon is the supervisor for all of E.C.I’s Crews at Hacienda Business Park. A horticulturist with a Bachelors of Science from Cornell University in New York, Brenda has been with E.C.I. for four years now. She received a year of training in their San Jose office in all operational aspects of the company before supervising in the field. She’s now been working in the Pleasanton area for 21/2 years and has learned to deal with the peculiarities of the soils and other environmental conditions in the region.

A example of her work as supervisor is seen in a new fertilizer program recently begun for the Park. “We noticed that the plants at Hacienda Business Park were having trouble responding to fertilizers,” Brenda said. “So we had soil samples from all over the Park sent to a lab in Santa Clara. The lab report showed us that there are elements in the soils of the Park that interact with the nutrients, locking them up so the plants can’t absorb them. We’ve switched to what is know as a ‘60/20/20' blend of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These fertilizers will allow the plants to absorb more of the nutrients they need. “This may help clear up some mysteries to many a frustrated backyard gardener in Pleasanton!”

Included in the normal upkeep of landscaping for E.C.I. are irrigation, fertilization, pest and disease control, weeding, rotation of plantings and the removal of trimmings, rubbish, debris and other solid wastes. In addition, these permanent crews can form teams that periodically move through the Park with one specific goal, such as pruning trees and shrubs or massive irrigation checks. And because E.C.I.’s Pleasanton office is their regional headquarters, they also have access to support crews of specialists, such as the remedial crew that does heavy repair work or new installations. Their Pleasanton office is also the home of their repair shop that takes care of their fleet of light green trucks and all of their mowers and other power tools like edgers and blowers.

“Safety is an extremely important part of our jobs,” Brenda emphasized. “We have an ongoing training program for all of our employees which stresses job safety.” One key to this program is the weekly tailgate meeting held by every crew foreman with their crew members, reminding them of various job safety measures. In addition, the crews perform regular equipment checks to make sure all tools are working properly. Standard safety gear worn by E.C.I. staff includes bright orange vests for high visibility by traffic and pedestrians, gloves, goggles, ear protectors when using loud machinery, and safety hates for activities like pruning. Bright orange cones are used to mark the approach to their vehicles parked at the side of roads, and crews are taught to stop work when pedestrians are passing them. Constant awareness of these factors is necessary to keep their work environment safe, and personnel can be fired for not observing these safety rules.

Hacienda Business Park includes a unique blend of landscaping environments, such as the way in which the common areas extend far beyond the Park proper. But E.C.I.’s crews do a great job of dealing with all of the factors involved. The overall style of landscaping set for the Park has been one of natural lines and low-key maintenance.

“I think the Park really looks nice,” concluded Brenda. “I prefer the natural style of maintenance used here.” We think the Park looks good too! Keep up the good work, Environmental Care.

 

To see a reproduction of the original article and edition of Pleasanton Pathways, visit:
March 25, 1985 Pathways
 

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