Users of Santa Maria’s Grogan Park will soon get to climb and play on a new playground thanks to the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department’s regular inspection and maintenance program.

California state law requires that local municipalities routinely inspect their play equipment for issues relating to safety and accessibility. To meet those requirements, the city has certified playground inspectors on staff.

“If they find a playground that needs repair, the Park Division staff decides how to proceed,” said Alex Posada, Recreation and Parks Department director. 

In the case of Grogan Park, located at 1155 W. Rancho Verde in Santa Maria’s northwest corner, inspectors found accessibility and age issues.

“The playground there was already several years old (and it was) difficult to find parts to make repairs, so it was determined that replacement was the way to go,” Posada said.

The cost to replace and update the playground at Grogan Park will be about $150,000, according to city officials. Funds will come out of the Recreation and Parks Department's park maintenance budget.

Grogan Park, named for longtime Santa Maria City Manager Bob Grogan, is a 6-acre neighborhood park that includes a multipurpose room, playground and a barbecue picnic area. The park also has an open area big enough for football and/or soccer games. The recreational space has a walking path that circles the park, and restrooms are available on-site.

“We took out the old playground, and we are putting in a whole new one with surfacing,” said Jim Davis, park services manager.

Work at the park, contracted by Central Coast Playgrounds, will include new slides and different-shaped climbing structures. Completion is expected later this month.

When the work is complete, there will be, “an updated, accessible and, most important, a fun playground,” Posada said.

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Before the parks’ maintenance program identified Grogan Park, Oakley Park was the latest city park to receive a new playground, finished last year. Work there also included renovating Oakley Park’s open spaces and athletic fields and included adding a parking lot.

“We try to replace or upgrade one playground a year,” Davis explained.

Next on the city’s renovation list is Russell Park at 1000 W. Church St. Work is expected to get underway there in the summer of 2018.

Once Central Coast Playgrounds finishes its work at Grogan Park, the crew will head over to Santa Maria’s northeast side to begin repairs to Armstrong Park.

Earlier this year, vandals destroyed Armstrong Park’s large play structure by setting it on fire. The city used Community Development Block Grant funds to pay for the repairs, which could cost around $100,000.

Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.

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