Palo Alto breaks ground on Magical Bridge Playground

Donors, friends gather to celebrate construction of inclusive play space

With a flash of golden shovels and a spray of dirt picked up on the wind, Magical Bridge Founder Olenka Villarreal, Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd and supporters broke celebratory ground Monday morning at the site of Mitchell Park's forthcoming Magical Bridge Playground. About 100 community members attended the ceremony, with speeches from Villarreal, Shepherd, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and local families.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I hope this project fixes the bike paths near this playground. The path next to the Unitarian Church is already in terrible shape with a blind corner near the tennis courts. It's going to be a real hazard with more traffic to this playground.

Maybe someone can convince the Unitarian Church to cleanup their landscaping the back like they are doing in front to make this path more safe.

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Posted by Olenka Villarreal
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 23, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Hi "Anonymous," your wish is our command! In fact, fixing the bike path all along Nelson Drive is a magical benefit that the playground brings. We are also widening that blind corner near the tennis courts to avoid the hazards that you refererence.

We hope you will be pleased with the many upgrades to the area that will occur soon.


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Posted by Janet Dafoe
a resident of University South
on Jun 24, 2014 at 11:35 am

Thank you to everyone who has made this magical playground possible! Especially Olenka Villarreal, who has tirelessly worked on this for years. It is going to be such a wonderful place for kids, and it's long overdue to have a place that is accessible to kids of all kinds of abilities! I'm so excited to see it happening, and grateful for everyone's efforts. I can't wait to see it! What an asset for our community! Including all kids in our community benefits everyone!

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Posted by John Galt
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Could someone put a map up showing the location? Only vague references to the Unitarian Church, and maybe tennis courts.
Thanks, sounds like a real winner!

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Posted by Olenka Villarreal
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 24, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Hi John and thank you, we do think that we have a real winner with our design and hope you agree!

I'd be happy to email you a map of the exact space within Mitchell Park. In fact, if anyone else has specific questions or comments, please feel free to direct them to me at

Our Facebook page is also updated very regularly: Web Link

We had such fun yesterday! Thanks to the many who attended, have a very magical summer and see you at our Ribbon Cutting ceremony in the late fall!

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Posted by sara zirkel
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2014 at 6:21 am

My friend, Olenka, is AMAZING! INSPIRING! IMPRESSIVE! and one the most GOOD HEARTED people on the planet!!!
Her children, her husband, and her friends are grateful everyday for having her in our lives!! xoxoox

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Posted by Excited about this magical park
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 25, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Congratulations Olenka and Friends of the Magical Playground. Your vision, dedication, and focus make this wonderful park a reality.

I look forward to all playgrounds taking a page from what is happening here.

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