The scene at San Gorgonio Park on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 27, featured children racing each other to take the first steps and swings on the brand new playground as parents, city officials and other residents watched in amusement.
Councilmember Mark Enmeier was the one to cut the ribbon Wednesday that marked the playground’s official opening. Joining him were Councilmember Victor Cabral, Rob Feuerstein, commissioner on the Beaches, Parks & Recreation Commission, and fellow Commissioners Jennifer Elliott and Thor Johnson.
Constructed by Kompan Inc., the playground is meant for children aged 5-12 years old and features all-natural wood materials chosen to complement the surrounding aesthetics of San Gorgonio.
“The park playground equipment has been updated to include multi-sensory play, a twisty tunnel slide, challenging and (adventurous) play with rope and rock wall climbing, San Clemente’s first bird nest swing, (and) an area for our youngest park goers with a playhouse and a boat,” Cabral said.
Before the festivities began, Cabral thanked residents for coming out and referenced the contribution of $220,000 made to the project’s funding by California’s Prop 68 grant program. Prop 68, passed in 2018, came with $4.1 billion in funding to allocate toward state and local parks, protecting natural resources, addressing water quality and flood protection, and improving public access to parks.
After the Beaches, Parks & Recreation Commission voted in June 2022 to approve a “Tree House” theme for the playground, the City Council in October approved a $766,783 contract with Kompan to replace the existing facility.
Samantha Wylie, director of the Beaches, Parks & Recreation Department, talked about the playground’s uniqueness regarding its materials, which is tightly associated with Kompan’s overall body of work.
“It’s one of the first of its kind in California,” she said. “… It was one of the first (our contractors) had ever done, too, so to see it come to life is kind of remarkable. They have a lot of these in Europe, but they’re still making their way (to the United States).”