La Playa Park Nears Completion, Celebration Planned for Early October
The medians along the Great Highway have always been somewhat of an eyesore; overgrown and full of trash, they were the haven of gophers and shopping carts. The La Playa Park People, a community group of neighborhood volunteers, have worked over the last two years to re-furbish a critical stretch of the median, located at the turnaround of the N-Judah streetcar, which they lovingly call La Playa Park.
La Playa Park is the combined brainchild of Steve Ward, a teacher who lives across from the median who wanted to restore the area for recreational purposes, and Sarab Stewart and Brianna Schaefer, members of the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, who saw the median as a chance to showcase groundbreaking ocean-friendly gardening. The end result is a gorgeous park bursting with native plants, drought tolerant plants, and edibles, and lavishly equipped with a bocce ball court, historic decorations, and a patio for barbeques.
The park’s formal last-call for volunteers to help in planting was in late July, and the La Playa Park People are in the final stages of securing a steady schedule of volunteers to maintain the park. The hope is that the surrounding neighbors, who will benefit from the park most regularly, will be able to pitch in and keep the park watered and weeded.
“The most important part of the park is the integration of the community,” said Steve Ward at a recent community meeting, “and the chance to get to know who your neighbors are through enjoying and working in the park. It really builds community, and that is the best part about the whole thing.” There is an unofficial opening for the park on October 10, Sunday 10/10/10, which will have live acoustic music, donated food, and will put the bocce ball court to the test.
Sarab Stewart hopes that the emphasis on ocean-friendly gardening will help Outer Sunset residents learn more about protecting their local watershed and keeping the ocean clean. The park will have educational signs posted that point out which plants grow well in the neighborhood climate, and which best absorb water and help reduce run-off. “The hope is to inspire neighbors to think about their own yards or public spaces, and to consider how to best impact the environment and to think about their water usage,” Sarab pointed out “Rip up the concrete in your backyards, let the water in, and keep pollutants out of the ocean and watershed.”
La Playa Park is located at the intersection of Judah Street and the Great Highway, and is by design open for all to access.
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