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La Mesa developing plan to improve parks and recreation

The city of La Mesa is developing a plan to improve its parks and recreation.

La Mesa has been growing, becoming younger and more diverse since it last updated its parks and recreation plan more than a decade ago. Community services director Sue Richardson said periodically reevaluating is key to making sure the city is serving all its residents.

In addition to recommending improvements — which could range from updated playgrounds to full bathroom renovations — staff will also identify where services don’t exist at all. The city currently has 14 parks, but Richardson said there are still many neighborhoods that don’t have a park within a 15-minute walk, mostly in west La Mesa.

City of La Mesa
La Mesa currently has 14 city parks, but many neighborhoods still don't have a park within a 15-minute walk.

Richardson said the result of a survey of residents’ wants includes perspectives from across the demographics of the city, rather than just people who, “have very loud voices.”

At the top of that list are more trails, open space and areas to have passive family gatherings, Richardson said.

Mejgan Afshan grew up going to La Mesa’s parks and now works on local equity issues through her nonprofit Borderlands for Equity.

She said she’s hopeful the plan will target funding for removing obstacles for those least able to access the parks and programs, including lower-income and differently-abled families.

“We're growing very rapidly,” Afshan said. “And so the concern, I think, is making sure that everybody is accessing these resources.”


She pointed to the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights developed by the state, which says every child is entitled to certain outdoor experiences, like sleeping under the stars or being in water, at least once.

Outdoor programming is especially important since the pandemic, Afshan said, as suicide rates among youth and mental health issues increased.

La Mesa residents are invited to attend an upcoming workshop to voice their opinions on what improvements should be made. The plan will take about a year to complete.

Thursday, April 20 between 6 and 8 p.m.
Parkway Sports and Health Academy Auditorium
9009 Park Plaza Dr., La Mesa, CA 91942


Wednesday, April 26 between 6 and 8 p.m.
La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center
8450 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, CA 91942
Or on Zoom
Listen at 669.444.9171
Webinar ID: 81001513660