The Ventura Community Center's playground officially reopened at a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 21 with new structures, updated equipment and newly planted trees.
Peter Jensen, the city landscape architect in charge of the project, led the ribbon cutting and re-dedication of the playground and playfields at 3990 Ventura Court.
"Usually playground equipment lasts for about 15 to 20 years, and it had been about that long since it had been done," Jensen said.
Jensen also said that workers updated field irrigation, re-did asphalt and added a fence to protect a community garden.
Work began in March of this year to add a play structure, three benches, swings with the inclusion of an accessible swing for children with disabilities and to update an existing play structure. A year of planning was required, and construction took two-and-a-half months. The work cost the city $300,000, which came from the city's general fund.
Janice Shaul, the executive director of Palo Alto Community Child Care, was excited for the new structures and trees.
"All day long I see people from the neighborhood come over and play on it," said Shaul, whose office overlooks the Ventura playground. " ... I think it's a pretty hidden park, so people don't know too much about it. But when they see it they're so excited to see that there's open space to play and a really nice playground. And I've heard kids … when they come around they're like, 'The playgrounds open!' They're so excited."
The community center serves as the headquarters for the PACCC and the Sojourner Truth Infant-Toddler Program. The buildings are run and managed by the PACCC, while the city manages the asphalt, playgrounds and fields.
In addition to the main additions and revamping, the city also replaced the backstops on the basketball hoops and gave the hoops fresh nets.
"And that was something extra that we weren't expecting," said Kristina Fregger, an executive assistant at PACCC.
The centrality of the community center attracts many neighborhood locals, who take advantage of the the parks amenities throughout the day, Shaul said.
"There are a lot of basketball players in the evening," Shaul said. "It's really interesting to see how many young adults come out and use the facility."
Fregger said previously, residents have also taken it upon themselves to do some maintenance work.
"Usually the people in the community will come out and bring their ladders and replace the (basketball) nets," Fregger said. "They love using this space and they want to keep it nice."
The city also included the users of the park in the discussion concerning what work would be done, leading to some changes from the original plan. While the City originally wanted all ground surfaces to be rubberized, users wanted sand "because children really benefit from digging in the sand," Shaul said.
The final touches will be put on Saturday, July 16, when workers will finish work on the basketball asphalt and repaint the basketball court lines.