WALNUT CREEK -- Park playgrounds are reopening over the next week, safer and more accessible to the disabled.

On Tuesday, the playgrounds at Larkey, Walden and Arbolado parks will begin to officially reopen with upgraded equipment. The city spent $500,000 on the state- and federally-mandated upgrades, including new play structures and mulch instead of sand. All city playgrounds will now meet state safety and American with Disabilities Act standards.

But Larkey, Walden and Arbolado parks had the most work done, said Mike Vickers, Walnut Creek's public services manager.

And the 26-acre Arbolado Park, with two playgrounds, has new amenities including shade structures, sand diggers, rockers, climbers, slides and a sand zone. This replaces a 22-year-old playground structure.

"Whether it was required by the state or not, it was necessary to replace some of these structures," Vickers said.

The city will hold a ribbon cutting at Arbolado at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Children from nearby Walnut Acres Elementary School will be on hand for the ceremony, along with Mayor Kristina Lawson and members of the City Council.

The playground improvements were paid for through park in-lieu fees, which are paid to the city by developers for parks.

There is one city park, Heather Farm, which is undergoing a major renovation to house an all-abilities playground -- one that will allow children with disabilities to use all the playground equipment. That project will not be finished until October.


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Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.