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Costa Mesa eyes state grants for citywide park improvements

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Costa Mesa is seeking state funding to help pay for the planned renovation of the playground at Lions Park. The current centerpiece of the playground, this Korean War-era Grumman F9F Panther jet, will remain in place.
(File Photo)

Costa Mesa is hoping more than $1 million in state grants will round out the funding needed to renovate the playground at Lions Park.

The City Council unanimously approved applying for the funds earlier this month through the Proposition 68 parks and community revitalization program — and also shaped a wish list of about a dozen more parks and recreation features that could use renewing.

The $2.357-million Lions Park playground project already has $1 million earmarked in this year’s state budget, courtesy of legwork by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). Should the Prop. 68 fund kick in the remaining $1.357 million, construction could begin by spring 2020.

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Before voting for the grant application on Aug. 6, Councilwoman Arlis Reynolds — a former city parks commissioner — said she wants Costa Mesa to aggressively pursue Proposition 68 funding to both enhance existing parks and add new parkland.

The grant program, she said, is ideal for cities like Costa Mesa that are surrounded by wealth but also have disadvantaged areas.

“Prop. 68 is a huge pot of money that gives us probably our best opportunity to get projects that we haven’t been able to get otherwise or we wouldn’t be able to do on our own,” Reynolds said.

City staff also plans to evaluate other projects in future funding cycles, including the following. The total estimated project costs are listed in parentheses:

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  • Lining repairs for both man-made lakes at TeWinkle Park ($1.175 million)
  • Fencing, signage, trail restoration and a master plan update at Fairview Park ($600,000 total, over two grants; $350,000 for the fencing, signage and trails and $250,000 for the master plan)
  • Inventory, management and restoration planning for the flora and fauna at Canyon Park ($360,000)
  • New playground equipment, benches and landscaping at Shalimar Park ($250,000)
  • New playground equipment at Jordan Park ($175,000)
  • Outdoor exercise equipment on the Westside’s Victoria Street corridor ($140,000)
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Costa Mesa is looking to repair the lining of the lakes at TeWinkle Park.
(File Photo)

Councilwoman Sandy Genis said she was pleased to see the Victoria Street exercise stations on the city’s wish list. She said Victoria has wide spaces set back from the street and “we should be utilizing all these little pockets because, let’s face it, they’re not making any more land.”

The council and staff also floated potentially seeking funds for wetlands and bluff projects at Fairview, lighting and field improvements at Kaiser Elementary and Davis Magnet schools, new irrigation at TeWinkle Middle School and an expansion of the city skate park.

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