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La Mesa’s oldest park reopens after $4.5 million makeover

On Feb. 10, La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis, City Council members, Assemblymember Akilah Weber, city staff, and community leaders cut the ribbon to officially open the newly renovated Collier Park, the oldest park in La Mesa.

“Growing up, I spent much of my childhood riding my bike to Collier Park and have fond memories playing with my friends,” said Arapostathis in a press release. “As we inaugurate this newly renovated park, the next generation can look forward to creating their own memories, ensuring that this cherished space continues to thrive as a symbol of community, unity and vitality.”

The $4.5 million project was funded by park development fees, federal Community Development Block Grants, donations from the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation, California Department of Parks and Recreation Local Assistance Specified Grant funds, and California Proposition 68 Land and Water Bond Funds.

“As an Assembly member and former Council member who has represented La Mesa, I’m thrilled to see the renovations to Collier Park completed,” stated Weber. “The funds I secured for the park will help ensure the space is accessible to all residents in our community, because everyone deserves to enjoy the great amenities of the park safely.”

A sitting wall near the playground features a tapestry of 192 hand-painted tiles, adding a touch of community artwork to Collier Park.

“We were thrilled to unite the community during the 2023 Earth Day Festival to paint these tiles,” said Laurie MacDonald, president of the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation. “Our mission is to raise funds and oversee projects that enhance the community and strengthen family bonds, ultimately enriching the quality of life in La Mesa. Our contribution to funding the playground, fitness equipment and tiles in the park aligns perfectly with this goal.”

The Spring House will be protected in place until future funding is available for its rehabilitation. It was originally constructed in 1907 by Colonel David Charles Collier, a distinguished San Diego citizen and early La Mesa developer. It was used as a bottling works to sell water from springs on site. The natural springs at this site first made it a seasonal stopping place for the Kumeyaay. Collier Park was acquired by the City of La Mesa in 1915, and officially began developing the site for use as a municipal park by 1920. Both Collier Park and the Spring House are designated historic landmarks in La Mesa.

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