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Much Anticipated Renovations Underway at Loreto Park

Much-needed renovations are officially underway at Loreto Playground to accommodate users of all ages.

Most schools are officially out for summer recess, which means local playgrounds and parks are going to be filled with kids during the beautiful weather. Although a portion of Loreto Playground will be shut down for some time, the city Department of Parks and Recreation are making some necessary repairs and additions to improve the park.

For years, the front portion of Loreto Playground, near its entrance on Van Nest Avenue, has flooded after major rain storms. On Monday, June 13, construction began at the playground that will not only stop the flooding, but replace outdated equipment.

According to a Parks Department spokesperson, the existing bocce court will be renovated, a play area for toddlers will be built, wheelchair-accessible equipment will be added, as well as new planting beds, benches and fencing, game tables, and a drainage system that will cure the flooding problem.

“We have been waiting for this for a long time at Loreto,” said Community Board 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke. “For years it has been discussed to make some needed repairs at the park and I was glad to hear that it finally has come into fruition. The community and I are excited to see what the final product will look like.”

The last major reconstruction project at the park was in 2005, when the roller hockey rink was constructed, replacing the softball field. The last project that renovated the play area was nearly 10 years ago, when play equipment was replaced and the ground was repaved.

For many years, Councilman Jimmy Vacca was asked by local residents if anything could be done to further renovate the outdated playground. Vacca allocated approximately $500,000 through the City Council for the new project, was elated that work was finally underway.

“It’s been coming for a long time and well deserved. Much of the equipment was outdated,” Vacca said. “For many years, parents were asking if the park could be improved. Now, the park will be able to properly accommodate people in the community of all ages. I look forward to the project being completed and cannot wait for it to be reopened.”

According to Vacca, there are other renovations and additions currently being planned for Loreto Playground. The section of the park under construction is gated off to the public and the entrance on Van Nest Avenue has been closed. The remainder of the park is still open and can be accessed through entrances on Haight and Tomlinson avenues.

The project is scheduled to be completed in time for spring 2012.

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