When the recession hit La Mesa, California, the city didn’t let it stop their progress in transforming the community’s parks and playgrounds.
Led by the nonprofit La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation, in 2005 the city initiated a Wellness Taskforce that resulted in a major capital improvement plan called It’s Child’s Play, with the goal of raising $1 million dollars to improve parks. The plan grew from the previous successes of the Foundation, including the building of a city sports complex, as well as a survey of residents that identified both their appreciation for La Mesa’s parks and also a strong desire to see improvements made to their facilities and equipment, with many community members naming playground renovation amongst their top priorities.
After a strategic planning process the Foundation identified five of the city’s fourteen parks that were the most in need of refurbishing. Next, the Foundation approached the city to request their assistance in contributing to the project, getting the city to agree to install security lighting, renovate restrooms, and replace shade cover in picnic areas amongst other repairs.