As Celena Reynoso's three children climbed up and slid down play equipment at Maple Park on Tuesday, she described her dream list of changes to the green space her family visits almost every day.
There could be a bigger children's play area, she said, adding that her 8-, 7- and 3-year-olds love to play on the slides. And it would be nice to have a barrier between the playground and the rest of the park, where dozens of seniors play chess, cards and backgammon daily.
Reynoso's dream list may become a reality as the city plans to make an estimated $1.2 million worth of improvements to the roughly 3.9-acre park in one of the city's densest South Glendale neighborhoods. It is bounded by E. Maple Street on the north, Raleigh Street on the south and S. Cedar Street on the east.
On Tuesday, the City Council approved putting the project up for bid. Officials had already approved the bulk of the new design a few months ago, but this week they green-lighted adding 12 more parking spaces to the site, taking away some green space.
"That parking is definitely needed," said Community Services & Parks Director Jess Duran.
In addition to the extra parking, city officials plan to spruce up the tennis court and restrooms, add 10 more tables, install 12 pieces of exercise equipment, expand the children's play area by adding small grassy knolls, and plant hedging to block the kids' area from the rest of the park.
Tables are a top commodity at Maple Park. On Tuesday afternoon, most of the tables were occupied by large groups of seniors playing games and chatting.
City officials expect to award a contract to a construction company by October, begin construction in November and complete the improvements by April.
The money for the park project comes from a federal grant for low-income areas and from fees paid by developers building apartments in downtown.