By JEFF CLEMETSON | La Mesa Courier
On May 28, the city of La Mesa held a ribbon cutting for the rededication of Vista La Mesa Park. The neighborhood park, located at 3955 King St., recently underwent a redesign and renovation and in the process was designated a national demonstration site to study playground use by children.
“In the new world, children as young as 1 years old have a tablet in their hand,” said Mayor Mark Arapostathis. “The idea of being socialized and understanding how to socialize with other young people, there needs to be open space [for that] and we’re fortunate that we have 14 of these open spaces in La Mesa — and people do make use of it.”
The new, upgraded park features were funded with donations by EDCO Disposal, La Mesa Park & Recreation Foundation, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the California Parks and Recreation Society’s (CPRS) statewide Healthy Play Initiative in partnership with playground equipment companies GameTime and Playcore.
The Healthy Play Initiative is a program that gives discounts for new playground equipment to cities that agree to become national demonstration sites.
“We’ll start collecting data and see how active kids are and what they do, what features they like the best,” said La Mesa Community Services Director Sue Richardson. “So that not only helps the playground manufacturers figure out what kids like to do, but it also gathers data for children’s health.”
La Mesa will gather data, basically observing and writing down what the children play on in Vista La Mesa Park with help of SDSU students, Richardson added.
The new GameTime playground at Vista La Mesa Park features an EDCO truck play structure for ages 2-5 with educational nature and recycle signs nearby. The play structure for ages 5-12 has a tree house with notched stumps for climbing, slides, a tree swing, leaf seat, spinning cattail, and a tree stump balance beam. It is designed to be an overall fun playground for children to use their imagination and be active outdoors.
Other upgrades at the park include new landscaping with added trees and a completely regraded grass area to fix flooding issues; new lighting; a sidewalk that circles the park providing an avenue for children and adults to walk around the entire park for fun and physical activity; exercise equipment placed for parents to watch their children play ball or on the playground; a renovated horseshoe pit; new picnic tables and benches spread throughout the park; a new restroom roof; and a new monument entryway. And one feature Richardson said is new to La Mesa parks:
“This is our very first park that has shade on the top.”
— Reach Jeff Clemetson at firstname.lastname@example.org.