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Fundraising Campaign Starts For All Abilities Playground At Heather Farm Park

The $1.2 million facility will replace the current playground at the centrally located park in Walnut Creek

An artist's rendering of the proposed all abilities playground at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek
An artist's rendering of the proposed all abilities playground at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek
Buy a brick and help build a new all abilities playground at Heather Farm Park.

The Walnut Creek Civic Pride Foundation has begun a fundraising campaign to help pay for the $1.2 million playground.

The new 30,000-square-foot facility will replace the current playground near the Clarke Memorial Swim Center.

Contra Costa County park funds are paying for almost $500,000 of the project. Money from Measure WW park funds is taking care another $350,000. The city is allocating $75,000 of its park funds.

That leaves $320,000 to be raised in private donations.

Sandra Jacobsen, a member of the pride foundation board, said the response has been good so far.

In fact, the group bumped its fundraising goal to help pay for shock-absorbent, resilient pathways and surface beneath play structures.

To raise the extra money, the foundation is selling commemorative bricks for the playground's entrance. The bricks come in two sizes, one for $100 and one for $250.

The Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation is also providing matching grants.

The bricks are in addition to a donor wall and other fundraising mechanisms.

Jacobsen said the current playground is not up to today's codes and is in need of repair and/or replacement.

"This is a great opportunity to do this right," she said.

The new playground will feature structures and other amenities for children of all ages and abilities.

There will be a play area for preschool age children as well as elementary school children.

In addition, there will be a free-play climbing hill, a traditional sand play area, an accessible "pull along" and a climb wall, among other things.

Structures and equipment will have wide ramps, making it easier for children with disabilities to use the playground.

Jacobsen said the new playground will be a regional resource, attracting families from all around the area.

Jojo Potato December 02, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Two months ago the cctimes article put the price at $950,000. Now it's $1.2m? And this is the city that had a blurb in the recent news letter explaining how in the upcoming budgets there be a $2m deficit per year. I don't get it. The city seems to be making no effort to control spending. Where will all this end?
Bob Brittain December 03, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Dear Jojo, the government funding of $850,00 is from two sources - Measure WW funds that the City can only use on projects like this and in-lieu park funds from the County that can, likewise, be used only for projects like this. The original proposal involved outreach to raise an additional $100,000 in voluntary contributions to provide a minimal all-abilities park. The volunteers raising private funds have set a higher goal to optimize the park with seating, resilient surfaces, more wheelchair access, etc. I hope that they make their goal. If they don't, the park can still be built for the original $950K. I hope that all citizens will applaud these private fundraising efforts to create a park where all children can have a wonderful park experience.
Jojo Potato December 03, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Interesting that the Walnut Creek homepage still shows the old numbers. Did the web guys miss out on the backroom deal that made the changes?
One more time with feeling December 04, 2013 at 09:51 AM
Yes, Bob, let us hope all the children can use it. Just like we hoped the skate park users would enjoy that space as opposed to those who leave graffiti, throw feces around and can't seem to locate any of the many trash cans. Or the general park visitors who dump trash (including used condoms and baby diapers) and miss the many available trash cans. Or the race-event runners who drop their Goo packs and leave their race direction stickers on the ground. This fundraising effort must include a line item for maintenance or we'll be stuck with another maintenance intensive dog park and overpriced library that we can't afford. We keep hearing about this $2 million budget shortfall and more line items get added to the expense side of the budget. We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.

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