Facility Profile - January 2012
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A Park Reborn
Callaghan Park in Watsonville, Calif.

By Rick Dandes

10 Months Later

"The revitalization of Callaghan Park has given the neighborhood a greater sense of place and has improved the image of the neighborhood and the city as a whole," said Ana Espinoza, director, Parks and Community Services, city of Watsonville. "Moreover, there is increased pride and ownership of the park as residents themselves guided the design plan."

The park has been remodeled to meet community needs and interests. And, today, Callaghan Park is providing greater opportunities for individual and group recreational and social activities to take place.

"A park only becomes alive and serves as a true asset to the community," Espinoza said, "when it is used and enjoyed by the community, by residents of all ages, genders, racial and cultural groups."

The usage of the park has certainly doubled, if not quadrupled, she added.

"On one of my recent visits to the park, on a sunny and warm day, I noticed a group of about eight elderly individuals having a picnic and I approached them and asked them how they liked the park and they shared that they 'loved it' because it was a comfortable place for them to be and that they typically spent several hours in the park. They look forward to coming to the park on a weekly basis and would like to come more often if they could."

They had their lunch together, relaxed, sang songs together and reminisced about their youth. Being in the park made them feel younger, and they appreciated all the younger generations engaged in play.

"Our department," she said, "continues to receive compliments and positive feedback about the transformation of Callaghan Park and express their amazement in the number of families and individuals they have seen enjoying the park."

In 2010, the California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS) honored Callaghan Park with a Neighborhood Park Planning & Design Award.

Watsonville Parks: www.watsonvillerec.com
SSA Landscape Architects: www.ssala.com
DuMor Inc.: www.dumor.com