July 24, 2019

Vista La Mesa Park Named National Demonstration Site

Play. Record. Repeat.

La Mesa, California has revitalized a favorite local park and made it a research location where university students record data to help influence future play and recreation projects. 


10 miles east of San Diego is the City of La Mesa, California. The community is home to more than 60,000 people and more than half of the households have children under the age of 18. The Parks and Recreation department in La Mesa manages 14 parks and open spaces to create meaningful outdoor experiences for people of all ages, but one of those spaces was in need of attention.

The renovated playground at Vista La Mesa Park includes play areas for children ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12.


The playground at Vista La Mesa Park was outdated and nearing its end of usefulness. Thanks to a funding program from California Parks and Recreation Society and GameTime, along with donations by EDCO Disposal, La Mesa Park & Recreation Foundation, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the playground at Vista La Mesa park has been renovated and named a National Demonstration Site by PlayCore. Utilizing a QR code at the site, along with other data collection methods, the park will be able to measure usage data and demonstrate outcomes of the new play space.

Visa La Mesa park will also be part of ongoing observational research by the parks and community services teams. “We’ll start collecting data and see how active kids are and what they do, what features they like the best,” said La Mesa Community Services Director Sue Richardson. “This helps the playground manufacturers figure out what kids like to do, and it also gathers data for children’s health.” The data collection will be conducted by San Diego State University students who will observe children and families at play and record the time spent on the playground, levels of engagement with various amenities and other research data. 

A custom EDCO truck is part of the preschool play area at Vista La Mesa Park


The new GameTime playground at Vista La Mesa Park features a custom EDCO truck play structure for children ages 2 to 5. There are educational signs with information about nature and recycling nearby so parents can share the importance of environmental stewardship with their children. An Expression Swing® allows children and parents to swing together, face-to-face and eye-to-eye. There is also a play area for older children (ages 5 to 12) with a giant custom sculpted treehouse with climbers shaped like tree stumps, spinners that look like giant cattails and log balance beams. The entire play area is covered by massive fabric shades to keep the area cool during summer months.  La Mesa added new landscaping and trees throughout the park to provide natural elements and shade to make the space more comfortable for all users. There is also a sidewalk that circles the park so families can enjoy a walk together, or parents can exercise while children are at play. 


Contact your local GameTime representative to learn more about National Demonstration Sites and how your community can demonstrate leadership in the areas of play and recreation.