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Tot Lot Finally Set for Kids
January 21, 2009

Preface: The design concept for the arch at Livingston Park centered around "fitting in" with the surrounding Spanish style homes in the immediate area and scale of the families that visit. Jeannette Architects designed the new arch at Livingston Park pro bono

After 18 months of fundraising, design and construction, a newly redesigned Livingston Park Tot Lot is ready to unveil to the community.

Children can try out the play equipment for the first time since the project’s beginnings during a dedication ceremony beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday. For the last year-and-a-half, a group of community members known as the Tot Lot Committee (TLC) has spearheaded an effort to enhance the safety, accessibility and appearance of the site.

“I’m really pleased and overjoyed that this is coming to an end — there were some issues along the way, but the good news is that they were all rectified, the contractors worked it out and now it’s fine,” TLC Chair Mike DuRee said.

The grand opening will celebrate the project with refreshments, live music and appearances by dignitaries, including former Gov. George Deukmejian. TLC members will open the playground gates to youth that day after a brief countdown and a few words from speakers. Streets around the park will be blocked off for the event.
DuRee said workers will finish up a few landscaping details after the launch, but those efforts will not impact the playground’s opening.

“There’s a punch list of things that need to be done,” DuRee said. “It’s mainly cleanup.”

The finished product features new play equipment, fencing and a Spanish-style arched entrance to the park at the corner of Park Avenue and Livingston Drive. Three separate sections cater to different age groups, from toddlers to 12-year-olds.

The new design also includes stroller parking, benches, picnic tables and a tricycle path around the park. Legacy plaques on several panels honor donors for their contributions to the renovation.

The renovation effort began in July 2007, after a public meeting about Livingston Park in general. Residents first beat back a proposal to put a parking lot where the playground is now and move the tot lot to another block. That led to discussion of the dilapidated state of the playground equipment, and a challenge to the neighborhood to do something about it.

TLC collected more than $160,000 for the project through local fundraisers and other efforts. The Parks, Recreation and Marine capital improvement fund matched the other half, and the city and committee collaborated on the design. City officials oversaw the construction process.

Construction started in August 2008, with a few hiccups along the way, including a contractor change and damage to the park’s new rubber surface. The entry was designed by Jeannette Architects and put up by Zieba Builders.

The tot lot launch will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan 25, at Livingston Park Tot Lot, at Park Avenue on East Livingston Drive in Belmont Shore.

By Kelly Garrison
Grunion Gazette
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 

Welcome back to your park kids!