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The Little Park that Could- Linden Park

July 3, 2017

If you round the bend on Park Street, you could blink and almost miss it. Located atop the Hetch Hetchy right-of-way, and nestled into a street corner, is a Redwood Oaks neighborhood treasure, Linden Park. The land is owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and due to the water pipeline project in 2011, the park had to be removed and Linden Park was to be reimagined.

History of Linden Park

Let’s start at the beginning. In 1971, the City of Redwood City obtained a Land Use Permit and by 1972 had dedicated the Park open to the neighborhood. A renovation was done in 1986 and the narrow little park housed a wooden play area for kids with a small grass area to relax. It was a sweet little pocket park and a hidden gem for families.


linden old sign

Fast forward to 2011, SFPUC removed the park during their water pipeline project. Due to the piping beneath the ground and the need for access, there are many stipulations about what can be placed into the ground. There are strict guidelines to the depth of grounding park objects like footings, tree roots, etc. This makes designing for this space extremely challenging. We partnered with motivated neighbors, created a project team, and after a number of community meetings, a design was settled upon by everyone. In 2013, Council approved funding to reconstruct Linden Park and the dream of breaking ground was soon to become a reality.

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But, as it would happen, the unexpected occurred. In April 2014, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)  informed the City the need to modify the SFPUC engineering standards and land use policies for their entire right-of-way. Though the City had nearly completed the 65% construction drawings at the time, the project could not move forward based on their direction and the uncertain change of requirements. Since the park is not on City land, the City was required to comply with the SFPUC requirements, process, and approvals. This was a devastating blow to the residents, volunteers, and staff who had worked tirelessly to perfect the new park design. Several months later, SFPUC completed their study and allowed the City to move forward with the project using their revised engineering standards and recreational use policies.

linden kidsThe project bid opening was held on December 14, 2016. It was awarded to C2R Engineering, Inc. from Mountain View. and construction finally began in February 2017. And to add to the delay, we experienced a whole lot of rain. While we were incredibly thankful for this drought alleviating season, it inevitably amassed major delays.

The good news? We are happy, relieved, and excited to announce that Linden Park is a now reality! We are thankful for the creativity, care, and focus that our team gave to this project. A truly unique space has been created.

Introducing the NEW Linden Park!

 

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We’ve told you about the many challenges in designing this space. This particular park created a unique circumstance for our designers as we could not install any traditional play equipment, trees, or utilities due to the change of policies and engineering standards that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) put in place after initial community meetings and drawings were completed. Through the artful eye of Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services’ Landscape Architect, Claudia Olalla, the expertise of SSA Landscape Architecture, the support and project oversight of our Director and cheerleader, Chris Beth, our contractor, and our dedicated park staff, we are proud to introduce the new Linden Park—themed, “Butterfly Lifecycle.”

This innovative park design features interesting shapes like spirals, arches, and lines that inspire creative play and encourages kids to balance, jump, hop, race each other, and use their imaginations. The special willow arch structures were formed to elicit the feeling of being in a butterfly cocoon and provide additional shade and “chill” space. Kids can also find a couple of cute characters like caterpillars and a butterfly to sit and play upon. Lastly, Special plants were chosen which attract, house, and feed butterflies, with the hope that Linden Park will create a successful habitat.

Although we wish it hadn’t taken so long to complete, we think the park will be a wonderful amenity for the surrounding neighborhood and broader community. If you plan to visit this park, please note that the streets surrounding it are tight and there is no parking. It is through and through a neighborhood park. We ask that if you plan to visit, it is by foot or by bike.

We celebrated the Linden Park Grand Opening on June 29, 2017, joined by enthusiastic neighbors and supporters, Mayor John Seybert, Vice Mayor Bain, Parks Commissioners, and City Staff. You can check out the celebration and several features of the park in the video below. For more information about our city parks and programs, click here.

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Summer Playground Safety Reminders

June 19, 2017

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Summer will technically be here tomorrow (June 20), and with the current record high temperatures, we thought it would be a great to remind parents and providers about some basic playground safety tips.

The City of Redwood City designs playgrounds that meet and often exceed all top safety standards to ensure safe play for all, but negligence and inappropriate behavior can put your child’s health at risk.  A study issued by the CPSC evaluated playground injury cases and found that from 2009 to 2014, nearly 1.5 million injuries associated with playground equipment were treated nationally in emergency rooms, translating to about 243,000 ER-treated injuries per year. More than half of these injuries occurred in children between the ages of 5 and 9 years of age.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while visiting our parks that can help your child play safely, not only on hot days, but all year-round!

  • Always supervise kids and make sure kids use playground equipment appropriate for their age.
  • Always be aware of the sun and weather conditions, and do not assume that the equipment is safe because it is made of plastic, especially slides. We do not have to be in a heat wave in order for equipment to heat up and cause burns. If it feels hot to your hand, it may be too hot for a child’s bare skin!
  • Remember that not only playground equipment, but playground surfacing, may also cause burns. We recommend wearing proper footwear.
  • Never attach ropes, jump ropes, pet leashes or strings to playground equipment; children can strangle on these.
  • Make sure children’s clothing does not have any drawstrings as they can catch on slides and other equipment.
  • Please remove bike helmets when on playground equipment. A helmet may get stuck on a piece of equipment (and even in a tree) and strangle a child.
  • Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous.
  • If you see that equipment is broken in one of our parks, please report it immediately by calling (650) 780-7250 or providing notification at MyRWC.

Additional resources about playground safety

Wishing you and your family a fun and safe summer!

2017 Stafford Park Concerts Start This Week! Gentle Reminders…

June 12, 2017

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Music in the Park kicks off another exciting ten concert line-up this week from 6:00-8:00 pm at the beautiful Stafford Park! Folks can enjoy a family-friendly event, visiting with neighbors and friends, listening to great live music, eating a picnic dinner, and relaxing in the lovely atmosphere of one of Redwood City’s most popular Parks. What could be better?

Here are some gentle reminders to help make Music in the Park enjoyable for our entire community:

  • ride your bikeParking. Please remember that this concert takes place in a neighborhood park. Please drive slowly, pay close attention to pedestrians – especially the little ones, and take great care not to block driveways when parking your car. Better yet? Try riding your bikes, scooters or walking to the event!
  • Picnic Areas. The park is mostly lawn with a few picnic benches scattered about. Picnic Areas are first come first served. There are some BBQs permanently affixed to some of the sites and are NOT PERMITTED for use during the concert.  In addition, you MAY NOT bring portable grills for use in the park.
  • Seating. Some folks like to get to the park early to set up their area well before the show starts. We ask that you please take into account the height of your picnic chairs and try to not impede the line of sight for the majority of folks who will be sitting in low chairs or on picnic blankets. We ask that higher seating stays to the perimeter of the crowd or towards the back of the park. Please, no umbrellas. 
  • Pets Many people ask if Dogs are allowed. Leashed dogs are always welcome, but we would like for you to consider a few things before bringing your pet. Concerts can become crowded and many dogs are likely to become agitated and scared by the enormity of the crowd and the volume of the music. Your beloved pet might be happier at home, but you know your pet best. Dogs must be on-leash at all times. 
  • Food. There will be a concession tent selling hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, and drinks, graciously operated and donated by the Optimist Club of Redwood City. All proceeds benefit the Save the Music program in Redwood City Schools. Again, we would like to remind you that portable grills are not allowed.
  • Alcohol. Beer and Wine are okay to bring during this event in the park. Please drink responsibly.
  • Trees & Plants. Our landscape staff works very hard to maintain the beautiful plants and trees in our parks. Please be aware that we have some smaller trees that are just not strong enough to support children climbing them, primarily the magnolias. Please help us to keep these delicate small trees healthy, and please stay out of the landscaped areas.

Lastly, we have plenty of trash and recycling receptacles around the park. Please do your part to help us keep our park clean.

stafford-park-concert_kids_800xMusic in the Park runs June 16-August 16, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 pm at Stafford Park, located at the corner of King St. and Hopkins Ave. in Redwood City (Map). The concerts couldn’t happen without the support of our generous sponsors: The Port of Redwood City, Kaiser Permanente, Brian Ayer – Realtor, County Consumer Plumbing and Redwood City Parks, Recreation, and Community Services.

To keep up with all of the wonderful FREE events happening in Redwood City, subscribe to our weekly event news, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Coming to Music on the Square? Here are the FAQS

June 2, 2017

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Summer in Redwood City brings a wealth of excitement and there is no shortage of fun! With so many events happening downtown, we understand you may have questions! Here are the answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions that will help you plan your visit downtown and optimize your experience!

What is your seating policy? When can I set up?

Attendees for Music on the Square may not set up tables/chairs prior to 3:00PM. Music on the Square has become a favorite event on the Peninsula. It takes quite a bit of time for our staff to set-up for each concert, early arrivals only add to the time it takes to set-up as not all walkways, seating areas, and other necessary items needed for the production of a safe and successful concert are in place.

What sort of public transportation is available?

There are several bus lines and Caltrain that stop within blocks of Courthouse Square. Links to those websites can be found here.

Where is the best place to park?

Click here for more information on parking.

Is there anything to do downtown after concerts end at 8:00PM?

Yes! Yes! Yes! There are a number of great bars and restaurants, music venues, movie theaters, as well as hotels & inns within the city limits of Redwood City. Please visit the City of Redwood City website for more info.

Are there restrooms?

Restrooms with hand-washing facilities are available on the Hamilton Side of the Courthouse.

Are there trash and recycling bins?

Portable recycling & trash receptacles are provided surrounding the Square for your convenience. However, in an effort to minimize the burden on the Parks Department clean-up crew, it is highly recommended that you carry away any waste you produce and deposit it in your home recycling containers.

Is there a fee for the events?

Most of our events are FREE! Anyone can come and watch the music, movies and attend most festivals for free. The only fee-based events are the Zoppe Italian Family Circus and Oktoberfest.

Can I smoke on the Square?

Sorry. There is no smoking allowed at Courthouse Square. (ordinance 33A.39.I)

Can I bring alcohol to the Square?

Beer and Wine are okay to bring during most City Run Events on the Square. Please make sure that all beverages are in plastic cups or cans. No glass, please.

Can I bring food and/or drinks to Courthouse Square?

Yes, food and drink are allowed. In addition, there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance for you to enjoy a great meal before or after a show, or get take-out from during the events. Click here for the Downtown Dining Guide.

Are dogs allowed at the concerts?

Pets are not recommended. We would like for you to think twice about bringing your pet to our Summer Concert Series. It is very crowded and most dogs are likely to become agitated and scared by the enormity of the crowd and the volume of the music. Your beloved pet might be happier at home.

What items are prohibited?

The following are prohibited by the City of Redwood City: Tents, umbrellas, grills, portable generators, items that disrupt the concert. Tape or any other material, or hanging or posting anything on trees, plants or light posts.

Can I bring an Umbrella?

Please no umbrellas, they block the view of others.
We appreciate your compliance with our rules. To view them online, visit our event site here. Have more questions? Let us know in the comments!

About Music on the Square

Music on the Square runs June 2-September 1 2017 from 6:00-8:00 pm on Courthouse Square, located at 2200 Broadway in Downtown Redwood City (Map). The concerts couldn’t happen without the support of our generous sponsors.

To keep up with all of the wonderful FREE events happening in Redwood City, visit our websitesubscribe to our weekly event news, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Try “everything” this summer

May 8, 2017

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We are firm believers in kids trying all sorts of activities to stimulate their interests and find their passions. One of our main purposes in the business of Parks and Recreation is to provide a wide variety of introductory opportunities for people of all ages to experience, learn and grow! Summer is an opportune time for parents to dip their children’s toes into the water of multiple activities, and one area where diversification is becoming increasingly important is sports. We asked Brett Gardner, owner of our local Skyhawks Sports Franchise to share her thoughts on this topic. 

Much has been written over the past several years about specializing in one sport vs. letting kids play as many sports as possible. There is all this literature that benchmarks what age kids should be when they specialize. I come down firmly in the camp of NEVER. Unless your child is an elite gymnast or dancer, there is no argument to be made for specializing in a sport. Ask professional athletes how many of them “specialized” in the sport they now play. I’d hazard a guess that the answer is none.

burnoutBut, sports have gotten really out of hand thanks to the business model behind competitive sports. Coaches are hired to develop players for college sports programs. That’s what they are paid to do. I hear parents talking about this even with a team of eight-year-olds!

If you are reading this and you have teenagers, I hope you’re nodding your head in agreement. Parents of younger children, read on. Sports is not a career for your child. It’s an activity and it should be one of many.

But, more importantly, not all kids like sports. As the parent of two very athletic children and the owner of a company that runs sports camps, I should be shouting from rooftops about the benefits of sports. But, I have also seen what happens when kids are pushed too hard.

Girl getting ready to leave the baseI am a big believer in the “try everything” model of parenting. You never know what’s going to stick. When my kids were little, we tried it all — from ball sports to gymnastics to theater to martial arts to dance.  Some of it stuck and much of it didn’t. The questions we asked our kids were, “was it fun?” and “did you learn anything worthwhile?” Next, we asked them if they wanted to do that activity again.

With child number one, the answer was invariably, yes. With the other one, it was almost always, NO! Different kids, different interests. Even though child number one seemed to like everything and child number two seemed to hate most things, I still think the try everything model was good for both of them.

With limited time during the school year, we often used summer camps to let our kids try different activities. Many families didn’t understand why we would do this. If my daughter was “an athlete,” why weren’t we sending her only to sports camps? She plays ball sports nine months out of the year. Does she really need more sports at age eight? We thought it was far more important for her to experience different things. So we encouraged her to try science camps, cooking lessons, etc. She loved some of them and was less enthusiastic about others. But, she got to try something new, which was the most important thing.

As summer is looming, think about things your kids have never done before.  It could be a new sport, like flag football. Or, it could be dance or robotics. Try everything. You just never know what will stick!

SkyhawksTo sign your child up for one of Brett Gardner’s Skyhawks Sports Camps in Redwood City, click here. there are full day and half day camps available. Many are scheduled to coincide with Bridge Care and After Care. For registration info visit www.redwoodcitycamps.org

Brett_GardnerAbout Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner considers herself a bail-out from Silicon Valley after having been involved in the early stages of several companies. She is a coach at heart, having both played and coached soccer and basketball for several years. She currently owns Skyhawks Sports for the Peninsula and spends her Sundays with 70 of her favorite preschoolers teaching t-ball, soccer and basketball.

May the 4th still be with you…

May 4, 2017

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photo from http://www.retroland.com/star-wars-toys/

I think I can speak for most children of the 70’s and 80’s when I say that Star Wars was a big part of our lives.  We had to wait for what felt like FOREVER for a sequel and an eternity for the trilogy, only to be confused over a decade later that we would now refer to these films as episodes IV, V and VI. While showing the original Star Wars for the first time to my kids, after not seeing it for decades, for a fleeting moment I thought, “Will this movie hold up?” It was starting to look a little more like something you would see on MST 3000 (Mystery Science Theater 3000). Thankfully, I can attest that it did indeed hold up, and I was reminded of how groundbreaking  Lucasfilm’s special effects were at that time.

There is clearly something special about this franchise because here we are 40 years from the original release date, and kids are still crazy over Star Wars. We got to re-experience the excitement of a new Star Wars release in 2015 with The Force Awakens, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to shedding many tears, both of joy and sadness, as I watched this carefully crafted tribute film with my own kids.

Since the force awoke, we’ve seen Rogue One and can also look forward to The Last Jedi, aka Episode VIII, this December. The force is still very much alive and strong, and I haven’t even mentioned the numerous LEGO Star Wars series and shows that frequently grace our Netflix queue.

We want to help you keep your child’s Star Wars mojo in full force. So help you, we will. Here is a list of fun summer camps where your child can geek-out on Star Wars all week long!

***Don’t forget, you can link these half day camps up with something else of their liking by utilizing Bridge Care. More here.***

maythe4thJedi Engineering using LEGO®
June 26-30, 2017
Red Morton Community Center
Taught by the building experts at Play-well Teknologies
This is really the perfect storm. LEGO® and Star Wars, together in one place! If you were 7 years old, you might be shaking with excitement at the thought! The FORCE is definitely strong in both of these activities, and whether you are a young Padawan or a Jedi Master, we have a camp to fit your child’s engineering needs. Click the links below for more info and to register.

Jedi Engineering Using LEGO®
Age 5-6 years
9:00am – 12:00pm

Jedi Master Engineering Using LEGO®
Age 7-12 years
1:00 – 4:00pm

SummerProgramsStar Wars Stop Motion Flix
July 31 – August 4, 2017

1:00-4:00pm (full day option here)
Taught by Incrediflix
You mean, kids get to make their OWN Star Wars movie? From a galaxy far far away and to a location near you! Kids are crazy about making videos and now they can bring Star Wars characters to life using stop-motion animation. Students will get to create characters and sets for a Star Wars movie that they storyboard, write, shoot, and voice-over in age-appropriate groups.

May the 4th be with all of you! And note, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, Cartoonists Day, National Chocolate Custard Day, National Hoagie Day, and International Space Day among may others.

In good fun,

Jordana Freeman
Community Services Manager, Star Wars Geek, and Mom of 2 boys

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One less thing to worry about.

April 5, 2017

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See this photo? This is not in my morning routine. I applaud parents who take the time and energy to craft these Pinterest worthy bento boxes, but my reality is very different. I am again taking off my Parks & Recreation hat for a second and putting on my parent hat. I know that some of you are quite skilled in the lunch-making arena, but my family mornings reflect more of a Ground Hog Day scenario.

Let me explain. If the concept of Ground Hog Day has you puzzled, let’s take a trip back to 1993. Bill Murray starred in a film – titled Ground Hog Day – about a weatherman who gets caught in a blizzard and finds himself suspended in a time warp where he relives the same day over and over. Do you see where I might be going with this? Fast forward to 2017. I wake my boys up for school and then the reminders begin. Really, it’s only 5 things. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, shoes, LET’S GO! We keep it simple. However, in my home, there is some sort of “kidnesia.” A Ground Hog Day effect. It’s like yesterday and the day before never happened. I get it. I’d rather build LEGO and read too. But, we have to go.

In addition to the reminders, and my husband and I getting ready for work ourselves,  the kids need lunch. Packing lunch may not be a daunting task for all parents, but anything with food involved, whether cooking it or assembling it, is my Achilles heel. The types of lunches my kids will eat cannot be made the night before, they prefer warm Thermos lunches, and my husband and I oblige. What we really need in the morning is a path of least resistance, which brings me to the exciting part, and the reason for my sharing these troubles with you. Thankfully, those in my population have an option. Take the summer off, lunch-makers! Let me introduce you to Camp Kaboom & Camp Whatchamacallit!

Kaboom & Whatchamacallit are Full Day Camps offered at the Community Activities Building and Sandpiper Community Centers, with early start times and the opportunity for Post Care, fun Field Trips, Swimming, Recreational Activities, Special Events, Arts, Crafts, Healthy Snacks, and… wait for it….LUNCH!!!! DAILY! Wake up, get dressed, and KABOOM! (Well, you are on your own for breakfast). Pretty great, right?

And if bento boxes are your thing, I have great respect for you. You are also welcome to send your kid along with a homemade lunch if you so desire.

Regards,

Jordana Freeman, Community Services Manager, Mom of 2


Registration Information

Camp Kaboom
Age 6-12
7:30am-5:30pm (post care available)
Community Activities Building
Register Now

Camp Whatchamacallit
Age 6-12
8:00am-5:00pm (post care available)
Sandpiper Community Center
Register Now

Check out our theme weeks, registration information and more online at RedwoodCityCamps.org.

 

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