Using Drawbacks as Assets Wins Praise for New Park

Times Staff Writer

Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District officials faced formidable challenges in turning a strip of land wedged between the Simi Valley Freeway and a flood control channel into an attractive park.

“It was a terrible site to work with, with a lot of constraints for development,” said Dmitri Hunt, director of the park district. “We wanted to try to provide something for everybody, but the site is small and narrow.”

Despite these obstacles in designing Mayfield Park, it was recently named one of the best new neighborhood parks by the California Park and Recreation Society.

In planning the award-winning park, Hunt said, designers “tried to turn those negatives into positives, the constraints into opportunities.” The result was a creatively designed hilly park with visual interest.


Bridging Channel

Park officials acquired a small parcel of land on the other side of the flood control channel and built a pedestrian bridge over it.

“Rather than something to avoid, we did something to try to make the channel more positive,” Hunt said.

Hunt said park district officials also consulted with neighborhood residents in designing the $575,000 park. “There was a great deal of public involvement in the planning process, and the product is a park with a greater range of amenities than you would normally see.”


The park includes a full-size basketball court, a large grassy field that can be used for volleyball, softball or general recreation, an exercise-station course and two major sections of play equipment: one for preteens and another for younger children.

“It’s a nice park. We drive by--it looks so neat, the kids always want to come here,” said Eliana Rosenski, who was on her first visit to Mayfield, along with her children, ages 10, 5 and 2.

She said that she often brings her children to parks because “it’s free entertainment for them to get all their energies out” and that Mayfield is among her favorites.

Mayfield Community Park is on Caldwell Avenue in Simi Valley just south of the freeway.