H-SANTA MARIA

Sep 30, 2013 8:19 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

Oakley Park could get more funding for reconstruction project

Oakley Park on the west side of Santa Maria could get a facelift soon, if some federal money ends up being dedicated to the project by the city council.

It's federal money that is set aside for projects that benefit low income areas of a community, so the city is deciding if they will use a portion of it to restore one of the city's oldest parks.

If you walk through six acres of Oakley Park, there are no signs of kids at play. There's just one swing set and some picnic tables.

"The kids around here don't have a lot to play with," said Jacqueline Centeno.

She and her son made a quick stop on their way to Priesker Park. She says at Oakley there's plenty of room for kids to run around, but that's just about it.

"We see them trapped in their backyards or not really out and about and it would be perfect to have a playground," said Centeno.

Santa Maria's Recreation and Parks Department hopes the city council will add more than $70,000 to their budget to create a more community-friendly space.

"We are trying to keep that mantra going where we can have a good park system that is located where people are and where people can easily get to," said Centeno.

Parks Director Alex Posada says the three-phase project would have bathrooms, a snack bar, playground area, and more fields to support the community's little league.

"I think Oakley Park and all of our parks are a community hub for activities and certainly them being a home of little leagues we are going to install fields where soccer can be played. I think you will find this to be a magnet for this community," said Posada.

And a park this neighborhood can be proud of.

"It's just walking distance for people around this neighborhood to play with their kids on a nice playground," said Centeno.

The project for the park also includes solar-powered street lighting and a larger picnic area.

Posada says they hope to have the reconstruction done by the summer of 2014.

The cost for the entire project is about $1.2 million.

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