The playground equipment at the Allied Gardens Recreation Center was looking pretty shabby. All that was really needed was a little surface preparation and a lot of paint. The Parks and Recreation Department agreed with our assessment, but the personnel crunch imposed by the pandemic put the matter on the back shelf. It was our hope that if we put together a team that we would be able do at least some beatification work. Of course, we would need the support and guidance from the city. We made a proposal to that effect.
Our good fortune was to be put in touch with Kelly Wood, the Parks and Recreation Department’s Area Manager for Allied Gardens, San Carlos, and the Tierrasanta Communities. We told her that we should be able to put together a team of 12 to 14. She said that this team was large enough to make the venture worthwhile and she put in orders for paint, brushes, sand paper, paint trays, liners, Tyvek suits, gloves, drop cloths, and rags. She scheduled the work for Saturday, Oct. 2.
As we got closer to that Saturday our team began to dwindle and a week or so before the event we told Ms. Wood that no more than six of us would show up, not near enough to do the job. She went to “all engines ahead full” and engaged the contacts she had developed over her years of service to ask for folks to join the endeavor.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a tent for shade sheltering a table full of bagels, coffee, energy bars, bananas, and water, along with a huge quantity of paint and painting supplies. As an early arrival, we were concerned that our meager personnel contribution was going to be more of an embarrassment than a painting crew. But then the fruits of Ms. Wood’s recruitment began to arrive.
Ultimately 38, not including her and members of her staff, showed up. From Kiwanis, the Patrick Henry Key Club, the Allied Gardens Community Council, our councilmember’s office and Councilmember Campillo himself, and who knows where else. A crew big enough to do the whole job before noon with time to spare.
Ms. Kelly formed us into working groups of six to eight and sent us off to sand, wipe down, and paint the equipment.
Folks passing by told us how much they appreciated the work. But our special thanks to Bill Center — he saw the 18 young folks from the Key Club earnestly at work and his first thought was pizza. He opened his wallet, pressed $100 on us, and pizza it was at the end of the work day.
The pictures really don’t do justice to the improvement of the playground, just let it be said that it looks like new equipment. All the result of a community interested enough in itself to do the work. But, in the final analysis, our contribution was just an idea. It would never have gotten even close to fruition without the intervention of Kelly Wood.
We have all run into mild to serious frustration when dealing with the city. Those occasions too often lead us to forget just how dedicated so many of the city workers are to our welfare. It takes an event like this to remind us that there are folks like Ms. Wood, dedicated employees who care and who care a lot about what they do for us. The credit for this outstanding result goes to her and her alone.
— by Shain Haug on behalf of the AGGCC