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Rankin Park Officially Opens This Evening - What Do You Think?

City officials will mark the opening of the first major park renovation paid for by Measure H at 6 p.m. this evening

It's a $4 million remodel that is accessible to people with disabilities, has two brand-new age-appropriate play areas, three picnic spots, meandering walkways, lawns and a new ballfield. There are echoes of its past as well - the historic water fountain and a couple of plaques from days gone by. 

Rankin Park is open for business, and tonight will be the focus of a celebration as the City Council, memers of the Park, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission and other officials gather to commemorate the opening of the first park to be refurbished with Measure H money voters approved in 2008.

Rankin Park was a beloved spot for decades, and has undergone many changes over the years. At one time, it hosted the steam engine that now sits at the entrance of Waterfront Park. That was relocated in the early 1990s. It played host to numerous gatherings of families and companies, including the Shell Refinery and other groups. 

But over the past two decades, Rankin Park has become long of tooth, and a place many families chose to avoid, due to its reputation as a hangout for rowdy parties and homeless camps. 

One morning last year, residents woke up to find the park completely graded down to dirt. The outcry was loud and long, as surprised citizens bemoaned the loss of a favorite memory. But city officials promised a brand new, improved facility. 

Today, that facility officially opens. Festivities begin at 6 p.m.

What do you think of the new Rankin Park? Tell us in the comments.

Hope Savage May 31, 2012 at 01:51 PM
I was there last week with my granddaughter. Very pretty, flowing with the surrounding hills. Fun for older kids with all the climbing stuff. Great long slide. A bit sparse in the equipment for the little ones and it breaks my heart that they tore out all of those beautiful shade trees, only to replace them with a completely unshaded cement picnic area. Pity they couldn't have retained some of those beautiful trees for their deep shade that Rankin Park was known for. Overall though, I like it.
Deborah May 31, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I'm sure this park will become memorable to a new generation, but to me it looks like the big, bad wolf blew my memories down. It had become very tatty and run down, and this park will, no doubt, be easier to maintain. All that sloping cement, looks like it will be a blast to skateboard on though!
Cooki Telles May 31, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I just turned 69 and my knees hurt me almost all the time, but I remember when they carried me through the Sierras backpacking. My baby grand daughter just turned 15 and doesn't look anything like that small bundle in my arms 15 years ago. Those memories are my most precious gifts, but I wouldn't go back for anything because that 15 year old is a beautiful scholar/athlete who just made all league in her Freshman year. Her mother and my son learned to swim and swing at the old Rankin park. Those are beautiful memories as well, but memories get us from there to here. So I say to all of you who are missing the old park, treasure your memories, but don't let changes of the past stop you from enjoying the present and future. The new trees will grow, parties will be held, children will learn to swim and we are all creating more treasured memories.
Patrick J. McNamara May 31, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Seems like a beautiful and user-friendly design. Looks like the lawn decided to scorch a bit right before the big unveiling, much to the chagrin of the contractor, I am betting. I think it will be a great place to have a big group picnic and watch some softball games.
Patricia Perryman May 31, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Good attitude, Cookie! And get those knees fixed!
Barbara Fiorica May 31, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I happened to check it out last evening. Thought it looked terrific. That slide looks like it will be lots of fun! The pool is gorgeous. I do think some additional shade trees would be beneficial around the play area; however, the way it is designed, it keeps the kids in plain sight of watchful parents.
Jroberts May 31, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Think the new park looks great and I know my son will love the tree house as he gets older. I do agree with everyone else though that more shade is needed
Kira Brown June 01, 2012 at 10:18 PM
My son, age 5, and I enjoyed the park last weekend. His comment was, "I never want to go to another park again. I only want to play at this one!" He LOVED the "Spider Web" and the long (and fast) slide. I think the park is well laid out and quite pretty. As the others have commented, shade is a good thing and maybe umbrellas for the picnic table areas would suffice. The new softball field looks great as well. I really like the bat and ball impressions in the retaininig wall. Clever! Thanks for all the hard work...
Patrick J. McNamara June 02, 2012 at 04:49 AM
When all the new trees grow in there will be plenty of shade.

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