A small neighborhood park at 38th Street and Solano Avenue in the North and East neighborhood in Richmond will celebrate its rejuvenation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday.
After that, the park known as Solano Playlot will be open for recreation and enjoyment by children and adults who have worked the past two years on making the 0.2-acre site a neighborhood asset.
The once-neglected park is again alive with children, and Solano PLAY, the community group that formed to steward the renovation, regularly holds seasonal events there.
Solano PLAY was awarded $10,000 from First 5 Contra Costa in 2010 toward a new play structure, and the city came through with matching funds for the project. As a result, the city, parents and other volunteers held a work party in February 2011 to install the park's first new play structure in 50 or so years.
The group came up just short in an earlier effort to land $25,000 in play equipment in national online balloting held by nonprofit group Ka-boom.
"We finished fourth place in the Ka-boom contest, just shy of the 'medal' we hoped to win," writes resident Melanie Myers. "However, now in the years since, we've achieved something much more significant and lasting -- a truly community designed and built park unlike any you'll find anywhere else."
The worn and rusted metal equipment that looked so threatening that some neighbors nicknamed the space "Death Park" has been
"Kids now call it Magic Park and Happy Park," according to Myers.
You can see photos of the transition online at www.facebook.com/SolanoPlaylot, or see it in person on Saturday.
DE ANZA REUNION UPDATE: The deadline to get tickets to the De Anza High School All Years (1957-2012) Reunion Gala on Aug. 17 has been extended until Sunday.
The gala, part of a two-day celebration hosted by the De Anza Alumni Association, is 7 to 11 p.m. at the Kaiser Center Rooftop by Lake Merritt in Oakland, and tickets are $55 each, available online at deanzaalumni.org.
The second part of the celebration is a free event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 18 at the school, 5000 Valley View Road in Richmond, that will allow alumni to picnic, see the old school and the new campus being built to replace it.
The free admission day will feature live music by De Anza alums, a demonstration of an environmental classroom by community group SPAWNERS, a picnic (bring your own food) on the baseball field, new De Anza sweatshirts for sale and a silent auction. There will also be a visit and presentation for the new campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. by rangers from the Juan Bautista DeAnza National Historic Trail.
Unfortunately, the contractor has determined that tours of the new school originally planned that day will not be possible.
For details on either event, send an email to deanzaalumni.org or call Karen Mason at 510-222-1774.
WEST COUNTY NOTES: What will the future policies and objectives be for the housing element in Richmond's general plan update.
Learn about the element and take the opportunity to have some input at the final workshop being held by the city at 6 p.m. Thursday in the multipurpose room at 440 Civic Center Plaza.
Light refreshments and Spanish translation will be provided.
Questions and comments about the housing element update can be directed to Associate Planner Hector Rojas at email@example.com.
More details on the element are online at www.ci.richmond.ca.us/housingelement.
Keith Terry and Evie Ladin "can make music out of anything and everything," say the Friends of the Richmond Public Library, host of the free family show.
The show hosted by Point Richmond Music features a no-host bar, raffle, face-painting for children and exhibitions by Arts of Point Richmond and the Point Richmond Art Collective. Participating restaurants and businesses in the historic district will offer specials.