LIVE OAK — The County of Santa Cruz received a $352,000 grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development for Phase I construction of Chanticleer County Park, which includes the county’s first all-inclusive playground.
Chanticleer Park is a 4.5-acre park in the Live Oak neighborhood. Phase I construction includes parking, a restroom, pathways, and improvements to the existing community garden, bike pump track and off-leash dog areas. It also includes LEO’s Haven, a public-private partnership between the county, Shane’s Inspiration, the Santa Cruz Playground Project and the Chanticleer Park Neighbors Association to construct a playground which will allow children of all abilities to play together.
“We’re grateful to the Department of Housing and Community Development for continuing the incredible momentum behind Chanticleer Park. This shows what a community can do when it comes together,” Santa Cruz County Parks Director Jeff Gaffney said.
Including original land acquisition costs, the total budget for Chanticleer County Park is $8.3 million, of which the Santa Cruz Playground Project is raising $1.9 million. To date, the county has funded or identified approximately 80 percent of its costs.
Since kicking off fundraising in 2016, the county and its partners have raised $2 million from individual donors, local community groups and charitable foundations, fundraising events and bake sales, state and federal grants and more. The partners are on track to complete fundraising by June 2018.
“I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the Santa Cruz County community,” said Watsonville resident Patricia Potts, founder of the Santa Cruz Playground Project and whose children, Lauren, Evelyn and Oliver, are the inspiration for LEO’s Haven. “This grant brings our dream one step closer to reality and a day when we recognize all members of our community as equals.”
The Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) Housing-Related Parks Program aims to increase the supply of affordable housing by funding neighborhoods improvements. Since 2010, HCD has awarded $154,537,200 in grants to eligible cities and counties.
Recent donations to LEO’s Haven include a Capitola-Aptos Rotary Club roast of Supervisor Zach Friend ($70,000), the sponsorship of the “Oodle Swing” by Aptos Curves ($6,600), and a Nisene Marks half-marathon by the Santa Cruz Host Lions Club (TBD).
The Santa Cruz County Parks Department is currently matching all donations to LEO’s Haven, up to $250,000.
To make a donation, visit www.santacruzplaygroundproject.org/donate.