GREENFIELD — After eight years in development, Greenfield Community Park — a nearly $3 million project located at Apple Avenue and Third Street — officially opened July 4 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a big round of applause from those in attendance, including residents and past and current city officials.
“On behalf of the City of Greenfield, I’d like to welcome all of you today as we celebrate Greenfield’s long-awaited, brand-new community park with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony,” said Greenfield City Council member Leah Santibañez, who also was part of the park committee.
“The committee was made up of community members, and I got to be a part of that committee, so this is exciting for me,” she said.
The project began in 2009 with a public committee that created the park’s conceptual design for a Proposition 84 grant application, written by then planning director Brent Slama. The first application was not approved, but the second was successful, and the city was awarded a $2,982,281 grant from the state.
“The idea of getting a park on the east side of the highway, to be not just a little pocket park for a playground but something that could truly be a community gathering space, was something that we really fought hard for,” said Slama, who still lives in the area with his family.
Other committee members were Stephanie Garcia, chair; Antoinette Lara, co-chair; Randy Hurley; Nora Puga; Vicki Runyon and Joe Santibañez.
During the architect selection phase, members of the city’s recreation committee — Sara Moncrief, Alberto Urquidez, Brent Slama, Eric Johnson, Avelina Torres and Art Salvagno — were also included in the process. Ultimately, architect Chris Roberts was chosen.
“He did an amazing job incorporating the details of the beautiful, natural aspects and unique design that the committee and the community desired,” Leah Santibañez said. “The final result is spectacular and packed with so many wonderful features and an abundance of play equipment for the kids. I know families will enjoy this new park, and in fact, they already have been.”
The 3-acre park features a large playground area for youth of all ages, a rock-climbing structure, basketball and tennis courts, a gazebo, open grass areas, a walking trail around the perimeter, picnic tables, benches, restrooms and parking.
Roberts said he had nothing but support along the way.
“Seems like that’s how things get done — when people bring out the best in one another. This is certainly the best in me,” Roberts said of the new park.
At last Tuesday’s ceremony, members of the Greenfield Police Explorers Program helped raise the park’s American flag for the first time. Pastor Andrew Salinas also provided a blessing.
“Isn’t this a beautiful park?” Salinas asked the crowd, which responded with affirmation and applause. “… I’m just in awe. It’s so beautiful, and all the families and children are going to have fun. … There are so many who have participated in this, and we just thank each and every one of you.”
Garcia, chairwoman of the Prop 84 park committee, also attended the ceremony. She thanked her fellow committee members as well as city staff, residents and local children who all provided ideas and participated in the park’s development.
“The result is before us today: a beautiful and unique community park for families to relax, play and enjoy for years to come,” Garcia said. “This chance to work together toward a common good and actually see the culmination of everyone’s dreams and ideas come to life is an amazing journey.”