New Playgrounds Coming to Concord

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 new play structures at Meadow Homes

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.

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Meet Monument Community First 5 Center Director Maya Rodriguez

MayaphotoMaya Rodriguez is the new Director of the Monument Community First 5 Center. Maya began working at the West County First 5 Center in 2008, and her experience with children and families influenced her decision to pursue a Masters in Human Development, from Columbia University. After graduating in 2012, Maya returned to Contra Costa County, eager to make a difference in her own community. Maya is thrilled to be working in Concord, the city she grew up in and calls home.

What food did you refuse to eat as a child?

Surprisingly, when I was a child I loved broccoli! I called them little trees. The food that I would leave behind on the plate was always meat. I think the texture was too rough for my baby teeth. Even though my mom made sure to cut it into small enough pieces, I felt that I had to chew it for too long, and it was always a struggle to finish.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Continue reading

Volunteers Create Learning Garden, Outdoor Classroom in Concord

Monument_volunteer_storyphotoFifty volunteers from Keller Williams Realty in Walnut Creek descended on the Monument Community First 5 Center last week to transform an unused dirt lot into a vibrant learning garden and outdoor classroom for preschoolers and their families.

The event was part of Keller Williams’ annual RED Day campaign, a day of service for Keller Williams associates to give back to important causes in their communities. The Monument Community First 5 Center was the recipient of these generous services this year. Continue reading