The Monument Community of Concord is celebrating two new playgrounds with a parade and ribbon cuttings after the Central County Regional Group we sponsor urged the city council to improve parks in their community.
The effort began in 2013 when the CCRG and partners assessed conditions at parks in the Monument neighborhood of Concord. Two parks, Ellis Lake and Meadow Homes, needed the most improvement, lacked bathrooms, and had more crime and safety issues.
After the parents presented their concerns at several city council meetings, council members agreed to allocate $1.1 million to renovate the two parks.
At Ellis Lake Park, the city expanded the playground by 2,900 square feet, and installed benches, lighting, drinking fountains, a safety barrier near a small lake, and new public restrooms which include a tot-sized toilet and sink rarely found in city parks. Meadow Homes Park received a 4,900-square-foot playground with structures for older and younger children.
The parents group is also tackling crime and safety issues by sponsoring community meetings with police and forming neighborhood watch programs. First 5 Contra Costa and the First 5 Center program adjacent to Ellis Lake Park, will also provide free sports classes and other children’s activities to keep the parks filled with families and deter crime.
The celebration events will take place on October 7th, starting at Meadow Homes Park at 10:00 a.m. After the ribbon-cutting there, families will form a parade to Ellis Lake Park to enjoy face painting, arts and crafts, a bike rodeo, and more.
The new playground projects were funded by the City of Concord in response to the Monument Parks Assessment conducted by the Central County Regional Group, First 5 Contra Costa, Monument Impact, and Contra Costa Health Services.
First 5 Contra Costa and the three parent advocacy groups it sponsors have partnered with city officials to refurbish eight neglected parks in low-income communities throughout the county.
Learn more: www.first5coco.org.
A street party is taking place to celebrate a community-driven project that led to $2.7 million in pedestrian safety improvements on Detroit Avenue, one of Concord’s most heavily trafficked streets located in the heart of the Monument community.
The celebration culminates a process that began in 2012, when the Central County Regional Group, a parent advocacy group we train and sponsor, conducted an assessment of walking and biking safety on Detroit Avenue with help from local agencies and elected officials. Detroit Avenue lacked safe sidewalks, bike lanes and crossings, which resulted in a number of collisions in recent years.
Parent volunteers participating on the three Regional Groups we sponsor have assessed a total of 75 local parks for safety, accessibility and fun.
The park assessments, which have taken place in Antioch, Bay Point, Pittsburg, Concord’s Monument Community, and San Pablo, represent the Groups’ focus on urban planning and how it can present barriers or opportunities for children’s health. Safe, accessible, and age-appropriate parks are critical to promoting physical activity and outdoor play for children, particularly families living in Contra Costa’s lower income communities.
Lucy credits her participation on the Regional Group with building her leadership skills and preparing her for such an important community role. About 150 parents volunteer on three Regional Groups sponsored by First 5 Contra Costa in order to make Contra Costa healthier, safer and more family-friendly. The program teaches community residents leadership and advocacy skills and how to contribute their voices to the political process.
“Participating as a member of the WCRG has empowered me to increase awareness about important health concerns, such as childhood obesity in my community,” Lucy said. “By being a leader in the WCRG, I’ve learned necessary tools to become a leader in my community. My participation assisted me with networking opportunities in San Pablo and Contra Costa County. I’m now a familiar face to many families in the community.” Continue reading