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  Chris Treadway: Richmond Park to Celebrate Makeover on Saturday
August 10, 2012

Chris Treadway: Richmond park to celebrate makeover on Saturday
By Chris Treadway
Contra Costa Times

Posted:   08/06/2012 05:10:31 PM PDT

A small neighborhood park at 38th Street and Solano Avenue in the North and East neighborhood in Richmond will celebrate its rejuvenation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday.
After that, the park known as Solano Playlot will be open for recreation and enjoyment by children and adults who have worked the past two years on making the 0.2-acre site a neighborhood asset.
The once-neglected park is again alive with children, and Solano PLAY, the community group that formed to steward the renovation, regularly holds seasonal events there.
Solano PLAY was awarded $10,000 from First 5 Contra Costa in 2010 toward a new play structure, and the city came through with matching funds for the project. As a result, the city, parents and other volunteers held a work party in February 2011 to install the park's first new play structure in 50 or so years.
The group came up just short in an earlier effort to land $25,000 in play equipment in national online balloting held by nonprofit group Ka-boom.
"We finished fourth place in the Ka-boom contest, just shy of the 'medal' we hoped to win," writes resident Melanie Myers. "However, now in the years since, we've achieved something much more significant and lasting -- a truly community designed and built park unlike any you'll find anywhere else."
The worn and rusted metal equipment that looked so threatening that some neighbors nicknamed the space "Death Park" has been banished.
"Kids now call it Magic Park and Happy Park," according to Myers.
You can see photos of the transition online at www.facebook.com/SolanoPlaylot, or see it in person on Saturday.