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LA MESA -- A newly renovated playground and picnic area in Northmont Park was dedicated on Tuesday, January 28, 2014. The new playground was made possible through the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation’s It’s Child’s Play campaign to ultimately renovate five park playgrounds in La Mesa.
Private fundraising opens up greater opportunities for creative play environments, while city funding for parks is but one of the needs stretching the municipality’s limited resources. City officials say the Northmont Park playground project is an example of how public/private partnerships can create a vibrant play experience for our youth.
The Northmont playground was designed with a nature theme in honor of the major donors, Grossmont Center which contributed $125,000 and Bill and Normal Verbeck who contributed $50,000. Grossmont Center’s marketing theme of “Shopping is in our nature” and the Verbeck’s long time support of Cuyamaca Gardens provided an appropriate theme for this play space. Both Grossmont Center and Mr. Verbeck were leaders in the creation of the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation and have contributed to many Foundation projects benefiting City residents such as the Junior Seau Sports Complex, the La Mesa Teen Center, and most recently It’s Child’s Play.
Students at Northmont Elementary School learned about art by creating the nature-themed tiles that decorate the seat wall around the playground. Park in lieu/developer fees were used to upgrade park sidewalks and build a picnic area directly adjacent to the new playground.
La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation Vice President Vicki Whitmire reported that this is the second playground renovation completed as part of It’s Child’s Play. The first was dedicated in November 2010 at Jackson Park, funded by the Drew Ford Family. She acknowledged Joe Drew of Drew Ford and Ed Burr of EDCO Disposal at the Northmont Park playground dedication for their leadership in the It’s Child’s Play initiative which has raised more than $500,000 to date.
Also acknowledged at the dedication were: the contractor, Anton’s Service, Inc.; Coast Recreation, Inc., supplier of the Landscape Structures play equipment; City of La Mesa Project Manager Michael Kinnard; and Community Services staff Kaaren McElroy and Michele Greenberg-McClung for their roles in the project.