Edie Macdonald Park was nearing completion when the 2.5-acre site in the Camden area of Elk Grove was opened to the public in 1997.
Visitors had little more than a small playground, a lawn area, and a one-acre wasteland that was often full of tall grass and weeds. The strangers used the unfinished place as a garbage dump, as refrigerators and mattresses.
Lack of adequate funding for maintenance caused the local park provider, the then Community Service District (CSD) of Elk Grove, to leave the park incomplete 25 years ago.
In the late 2010s, several residents had enough when more park maintenance cuts caused blight such as dry grass, a broken water source, and underwater sycamores.
“The sycamores were all dying,” recalled neighbor Jill Jones. “That really touched people when we started talking.”
Jones along with a dozen residents formed the Save Our Macdonald Park campaign to restore the park. They knocked on the doors of more than 450 homes to encourage local homeowners to vote by mail in favor of raising their annual park maintenance assessment rates to complete and maintain the park.
Jones noted that they had to visit each house a few times to make sure residents knew about their campaign and to see if they received the survey asking if they were willing to pay the fee increase.
After an 83% vote in favor of the new rates in 2019, CSD Park staff renovated Macdonald Park on a $ 1.1 million construction project and reopened the site this spring. There they held a reopening party on the afternoon of May 14th.
“Every day, he’s always active,” Mary Grosjean, an activist for Save Our Macdonald Park, said as she watched the families enjoying the park. “(The CSD) has done such a good job and brings the community together. Every age is enjoying it.”
The new park includes two playgrounds, two adult fitness areas, a shaded picnic area and a half basketball court. Each comfort was requested by the residents when the CSD designed the renovated park.
Father Zach Gibbs was impressed with the results.
“It’s better than the spill here before: it looked like a nuclear waste dump,” he said as he was with his children at a playground there. “Playgrounds are great for my kids.”
Neighbor Ruben Plaza sat in the park with his Boston Terrier, Bentley.
“They did very well with the playground and giving the kids a lot of play area,” he said. “We like the dog’s water fountain.”
CSD park staff also installed a natural garden with a spiral path on the east side of the park.
“There was a big mound of earth with weeds,” Jones said of the old garden look. “Right in the middle there were such tall weeds; that’s why we made the nature park there, it was already a mound of earth.”
CSD officials thanked the efforts of Jones and other neighborhood volunteers who helped restore Macdonald Park. District Board Chair Jaclyn Moreno presented a plaque dedicated to them. Plans are to show that dedication on a park stone.
“It’s finally open,” Moreno told the crowd at the celebration. “Looking around today, I would never know that Macdonald Park is now 25 years old; it is truly a whole new space of play ”.
He then spoke about the park’s troubled financial history which is based on maintenance fees charged by owners of the park’s landscape and lighting benefit area. Under state law, a park district can only increase its annual park maintenance fees by obtaining the approval of the ballots from the affected owners.
Moreno described Jones as a “community champion” in his campaign to complete Macdonald Park. She noted that the 83% neighborhood acceptance of the new maintenance rates was the highest approval of such rates in the history of the CSD.
“We are very grateful to have people in the community who care so much about their parks and their community who are willing to take the time out of their busy lives to make sure these things are done and that we have the money to keep up,” he said. Moreno.
Edie Macdonald Park was named after a prominent member of the Elk Grove community who co-founded the Elk Grove Historical Society in 1977 and served on the Elk Grove-Cosumnes Cemetery District Board for 13 years.
Macdonald Park is located at 8601 Spring Azure Way.
The park that took 25 years to complete | News Source link The park that took 25 years to complete | News