Built in a day, there is a new playground at Wells Park

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Wells Park in El Cajon is its most utilized park. Every day of the week, kids of all ages flock to the park to run around on the grass and play on the swings. The playground equipment was getting old. Last weekend, the children received a brand-new playground.

Wells Park in El Cajon is its most utilized park. Every day of the week, kids of all ages flock to the park to run around on the grass and play on the swings. The playground equipment was getting old. Last weekend, the children received a brand-new playground.

Not only did they get new play equipment, the kids had a say in what they wanted. Sara Ramirez, director of recreation for the city, explained that the department had applied for a grant from KaBOOM, a national non-profit that gets new playgrounds built. KaBOOM partnered with the city of El Cajon Recreation Department, the Boys and Girls Clubs of East County and Stoney’s Kids. Foresters, an international financial services provider, was matched with the city of El Cajon to see the new playground at Wells Park become a reality. 

A request for 170 volunteers was made to come out and build the playground on June 7. A total of 275 people showed up. 

“It’s amazing to see the volunteers coming together and make a difference for the children,” Ramirez said. 

The volunteers worked quickly. “They completed the construction ahead of schedule,” said Monica Zech, public information officer for the city. 

Nolan Christensen, designated a mulch team captain, said his team began working promptly at 8 a.m.

“It’s been literally moving a mountain. It kind of blows my mind how this playground has gone up in just six hours,” he said.

Children in the neighborhood designed the playground. They made drawings of what kind of equipment they wanted. KaBOOM then fashioned a playground from a composite of all the illustrations.  

One unique piece of the new playground is shaped like a ball in which a child can sit and swing in his own space.

“That ball is something that an autistic child would feel really comfortable in,” said Zech. “It’s such a great thing to be able to have a playground that all the kids can use.”

Volunteer Megan Swaney agreed.

“I always loved to play on the swing at the playground. It’s great knowing that there’s also play equipment for children with special needs,” she said.

El Cajon resident Greg Chapman helped in building the ladder-loop in the playground.

“This playground is like a palette from which the kids can choose what kind of adventures to have. The ladder-loop could be like something in a space adventure for them,” he said.

El Cajon Councilmember Tony Ambrose said the surrounding community would benefit greatly from the new playground.

“Outdoor activity for children is good for them socially, and for the mind and body, too,” he said.

Another feature of the new playground is the soft landing that the children will have when they slide or jump down from the equipment. A couple dozen of the volunteers raked and hauled in bags of mulch from a mini-mountain piled up by a fence.

Ambrose held all the workers in high esteem.

“Today is the first day of the San Diego Fair and we have an air show going on, and we still had all these people come out to volunteer. So I’d say that El Cajon is interested in their children,” he said.

Wells Park is located at 1153 E. Madison Avenue in El Cajon. 

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