Pacifica parks makeover starts at Fairmont West 

New playground equipment will adorn Fairmont West Park within the next couple months thanks to a state grant, one step in giving the city what officials call a needed parks makeover.

The city’s beaches have been earning kudos statewide, but with the exception of the refurbished Frontierland Park, the city parks overall could use upgrades, Parks, Beach and Recreation Director Mari Brumm-Merrill said.

Parks in Pacifica are especially hard to take care of because ocean air seems to increase the level of wear and tear on playground equipment and other structures, Brumm-Merrill said. Furthermore, state and federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for play equipment have changed dramatically even in the last few years.

But steps are being taken to keep everything up to snuff. Fairmont West, a neighborhood park that also has a recreation center on-site at 5066 Palmetto Drive, is the site of a newly opened preschool program for low-income children in the area. It’s set to receive some $37,000 in state grant funding for new playground equipment, an issue reviewed by the City Council at its Monday night meeting, according to a staff report.

"They’re a great asset," Brumm-Merrill said of the city’s 12 parks. "Now that our beaches are where we want them to be, we’re looking forward to putting even more resources into our parks system."

The city won an award for excellence in the planning and environmental quality category of the 2005 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program.

As part of the Smart Kids program, a statewide effort dedicated to education funding, the department earned a $72,000 state grant to fund the preschool program at Fairmont West, according to recreation director Scott Leslie. Approximately half of that money went toward the start-up costs for the preschool program, and the remaining portion was meant to upgrade the playground facility on site, he said.

An endowment from longtime resident Roy Davies, which generates some $125,000 annually in interest, is expected to help with the continuing effort to bring the city’s parks up to snuff. Next on the list of projects to tackle are some improvements to Fairmont Park, located at 649 Parkview Circle.

"We’re excited about enhancing that area for the whole community," Brumm-Merrill said.

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