February 04, 2019

Modern Approach to Play in La Mesa, California

Modern Play for a Modern City

Nine miles northeast of San Diego is beautiful La Mesa, California. Known as the "Jewel of the Hills," it is part of a vibrant and modern community of multigenerational households who enjoy the diverse landscape of the surrounding area. From the city and shore to the west, to the hills and canyons in the east, there are plenty of ways to enjoy outdoor recreation. 

One of the favorite places for families of La Mesa is La Mesita Park. Recently, GameTime and the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation worked together at La Mesita Park to build the first playground of its kind. 

“This is the first Modern City play system to be installed in the world,” said Tom Norquist, senior vice president of GameTime, the designers of the new Modern City product line.

Norquist along with city officials and representatives of La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation officially cut the ribbon on the new playground equipment at La Mesita Park on January 15, 2019. 

Modern City is a modern approach to traditional play systems. It's towering uprights provide a unique visual appeal, as well as support multiple levels of climbing activities that offer varying degrees of challenge and exploration in a compact space. The major components of the system are constructed of durable and low-maintenance steel and are designed to be climbed on, in, through and around. It makes nearly the entire structure a climbing area. Keeping children climbing and active was an essential part of the partnership between GameTime and the city of La Mesa.

“There is an important reason we are upgrading this playground, mainly because of children’s health,” said La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis. "The Centers for Disease Control that show that 20 percent of U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or obese, and while the fix for this problem is multi-pronged and complicated, there is no question that having […] parks is the first step in encouraging weight-losing physical activity.”

The mayor, who has also been a teacher for many years, also praised the striking design of the new playground.

“I’ve been around lots of playground equipment and nothing looks like this,” he said. “It’s inviting. It’s structurally unique to the playground experience. It’s made for children to explore. It challenges their minds and challenges them physically. It works for all levels, for children as young as 5 all the way up to 15, there is something for them to interact with on this.”

The Modern City playground at La Mesita Park includes three distinct play areas. There is a play system designed for the play styles and developmental needs of children ages 2 to 5, a larger system designed for the play styles and developmental needs for children ages 5 to 12 and a freestanding play area with swings. The swing area includes a new dish-style saucer swing that's designed for multiple users and for children of all abilities. 

Tom Norquist remarked it was important to the City of La Mesa to make this play area a multigenerational play experience. “It might be one of the most inviting playgrounds in the world in terms of intergenerational play," he said. "The parents are actively in the play area with their children rather than sitting on the benches looking at their phones. The open-air architecture is what allows for the high visibility and easy interaction between parents and children. The one thing that is so fantastic about this is the way the parent can actually get in and coach and work with their children as they go through the actual playground and reach in and touch them, guide them and help them.”

Learn more about Modern City at gametime.com/modern