This tumultuous year has proven the essential nature of nonpartisan local news. Every day we bring you news critical to staying informed and active in the community. Join us with a tax-deductible donation.

Costa Mesa will spend $1.78 million on improving Lions Park with the playground renovation expected to begin mid-October.


Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at squick@voiceofoc.org.


The 10-acre park, built in 1940, has been an anchor of the community, notably home to its fish fry fundraisers.

The playground improvement is the last part of a larger renovation to the entire park, and the facility is currently closed, according to Interim City Engineer Baltazar Mejia.

The City Council voted unanimously in September to approve the much-needed renovations. Public comments gathered during previous council meetings and information compiled from 468 survey responses were used to develop the park improvement plans.

Planned improvements at Costa Mesa Lions Park, as shown in a city presentation by Raja Sethuraman.

The project is expected to be finished in spring and includes modifications to existing utilities. Renovations will also include the restrooms, additions of shade structures, and new play equipment, said Public Services Director Raja Sethuraman.

Council member Sandra Genis expressed concern at the panel’s meeting in September that Costa Mesa’s parks didn’t currently have enough amenities for older children.

“The bigger kids often get left behind,” said Genis.

Sethuraman assured her that many of the new structures are more accessible for all ages.

Genis recalled playing on the airplane structure in the park that was installed in 1960 during her childhood, citing it as evidence that the grounds are ready for an upgrade.

“I’m looking forward to the kids in the future having just as much fun playing on this facility and playing on the lawn,” said Genis. “It’s been a shame that it hasn’t been open for a while.”

Council members said they looked forward to the park’s reopening with an updated look.

“I’m so excited as a mom of two rambunctious boys,” said Mayor Katrina Foley. “This is going to be a phenomenal playground.

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.