Wellfield Park playground set to reopen soon with $30,000 in upgrades

A children’s playground in Wellfield Park that was closed for a year is set to reopen soon with $30,000 in upgrades that include a new shade cover.

The playground was closed in the fall of 2021 after a National Playground Safety Program inspection determined there was broken and damaged equipment.

The project is part of a $250,000 package of upgrades to the park and the Ramona Community Center that come mostly from grants.

The playground could be repaired as early as the next two weeks, but its completion depends on when parts become available, said Tim Clement, administrative services manager for the Ramona Municipal Water District.

Interior upgrades to two restrooms in the park are also being completed, one near the football fields and the other near the adult softball fields, Clement said. The combined toilet upgrades cost about $90,000, according to a report from water district staff.

The works include painting the interior and exterior of the buildings and installing new roofs in addition to installing new stainless steel toilets, partition doors and hand dryers, and adding appliances such as interior and exterior lights and towel dispensers.

The playground repair and restroom upgrades were recommended by the Ramona Parks and Recreation Association (RPRA), which leases the park and community center from their owner, Ramona Municipal Water District.

Once spare parts are available, the play equipment will be reassembled better than new and a shade cover will be placed over it, said RPRA executive director Dawn Perfect.

Park visitors have often said that both restrooms need improvement, Perfect said.

“They were in really bad shape,” she said. “They were operational, they just weren’t very welcoming to park visitors.

“I am thrilled with the improvements, and they will make the park experience much more enjoyable for all visitors,” she added.

The parking lot at the Ramona Community Center is also being refurbished at a cost of approximately $75,000. The work involves removing the existing asphalt, preparing and compacting the subgrade, then installing, rolling and compacting the new asphalt and redoing the stripping, Clement said.

Work is being finalized, but crews are expected to return in three months to apply a seal, he said.

The Ramona Community Center parking lot is being resurfaced at a cost of approximately $75,000.

(Julie Gallant)

Resurfacing the parking lot will be especially helpful for seniors visiting the Ramona Senior Center, some of whom use canes, walkers and sometimes wheelchairs, Perfect said.

Another project that is winding down is upgrading audio and visual systems to help water district board meetings run more smoothly. The $53,000 in technical upgrades at the Ramona Community Center include a new sound system, wireless microphones, LCD screens for presentations and video capabilities for live streaming, Clement said.

The audio-visual upgrades should be ready in time for the water district board meeting on October 11, he said.

According to a Water District staff report, approximately $200,000 of the costs of these combined projects will be paid for by the Proposition 68 Per Capita Grant Program of the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Local Services and Grants Office. from California.

Proposition 68 (The Parks, Environment and Water Bond), approved by voters in 2018, authorized funds for state and local parks, as well as projects for environmental protection, hydraulic and flood protection infrastructure. In the latest round of funding, titled the General Per Capita Program, $185 million in funding was made available to local municipalities for the rehabilitation, improvement and creation of local parks, the staff report said.

A 20% match of funds is required for projects that don’t serve a “severely disadvantaged community,” so Clement said the district’s share of those current improvements will be an additional $50,000.

Harold B. McConnell