Volunteers, donations create Beverly Park - East Valley Tribune: News

Volunteers, donations create Beverly Park

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Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2009 8:55 pm | Updated: 2:49 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A sea of about 550 orange and khaki-clad volunteers from across the country and locally drilled holes, laid bricks and hauled giant pieces of equipment, turning part of a dull, brown piece of land into a playground within hours for a grateful west Mesa neighborhood.

Until Wednesday, the neighborhood lacked a local park for kids to play in and adults to gather. The project was a result of a generous donation of money, material and labor from the Home Depot Foundation, its nonprofit affiliate, KaBOOM!, Mesa and West Mesa Community Development Corp.

Dogged neighbors to revitalize 2 Mesa parks

The result: Beverly Park, near Main Street and Alma School Road, now has a 5,000-square-foot playground - complete with swings, slides and a giant jungle gym - on a 2.8-acre piece of land that may otherwise have been sold off by the city.

Mesa had bought the land in 2003, using about $275,000 in federal grant money, but lacked the money to develop it and had last year considered selling it. In the last couple of years, the land had become a public-safety nuisance, generating police calls and driving up maintenance issues.

But neighbors, particularly the Mesa Grande Community Alliance, a neighborhood group, pushed for the playground. With help from the West Mesa CDC, they applied for a grant to KaBOOM!, it got approved and now the revitalized park will officially open to the public at 1 p.m. Saturday. Mesa parks and recreation director Rhett Evans estimated the donated manpower and material at being worth $200,000.

Caleb Marshall, project manager for KaBoom!, said there were are no places for kids to play within walking distance of this neighborhood, so this would be a "tremendous opportunity" for residents to have a meeting ground and common space to play.

Last week, another Mesa-owned park, called Park of the Canals, got a similar face-lift.

Evans said he hopes Mesa can develop the relationship established with the foundation to do more such projects in the future throughout the city.

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Tribune photojournalist Tim Hacker contributed to this report

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