October 5, 2001

City Gets Anonymous 25K to Equip Cesar Chavez Park

The City of Oceanside has received an anonymous donation of $25,000 to pay for playground equipment in the newly created Cesar Chavez Park at 1309 Division St. in the City's Crown Heights neighborhood.

The donation was made through the San Diego Foundation to cover the cost of playground equipment, according to Debra Hoffman, foundation Vice President of Donor Relations. She added that the donor was aware the park has already been paid for with Community Block Grant Funds and the donation will free up those funds to be utilized for further neighborhood projects.

"This is a tribute to the legacy of Cesar Chavez and his tremendous contribution to our society," said Margery Pierce, City of Oceanside Housing and Neighborhood Services Director. "It is especially gratifying because of the intense involvement in this project by the Oceanside City Council and the residents of the Crown Heights neighborhood."

Crown Heights is a predominately low-income, Latino neighborhood where City officials have been working with residents to address community needs. Two of the top priorities identified in a recent needs assessment were more affordable housing and a neighborhood park for more community recreation space.

The park is a small "vest pocket" park built to serve the needs of community members who live within walking distance of the facility. It was completed through the combined efforts of Crown Heights residents, the City, Community Housing of North County and LISC Americorps San Diego. A grant partially funding the project, awarded by the State Commission Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning Project, required that neighborhood youth participate in park planning, design and construction.

Approximately 22 neighborhood children submitted design ideas for the park, and resident volunteers of all ages took part in clean up efforts to prepare the site for park development. Tiles, designed by neighborhood youth will be inlaid within the cement walking areas and a "planting" day was held this summer in which more than 200 residents and city officials worked together to complete the park landscaping.

"More than 500 people attended the grand opening of the Cesar Chavez Park on September 22nd," said Pierce. "It was a community celebration that honored not only the man for whom the park is named but also the people who live here and are working with the City to revitalize their neighborhood.

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