Tuesday, June 21, 2016 6:00 am

THE RECORDER recorder@portervillerecorder.com 

Play area officially dedicated

It took more than a decade but Plainview finally has a park to call its own. 

On Monday morning, a crowd of around 50 people attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the park’s completion.

“Twelve years ago when I came on the [Tulare County] board of supervisors, I met with the Plainview Mutual Water Company,” said Allen Ishida, who represents the area on the board. “At that time we had a severe water issue here but the other issue that came up was that they wanted a park.”

The site is the first park, playground or area for children to play in the small community of just under 1,000. The park is located at the corner of Road 198 and Avenue 194 on a parcel about the size of two residential lots.

Features include a half basketball court, a “tot lot” playground area, landscaping, irrigation and a shade structure that shields the playground from harsh summer sunlight. The tot lot includes three slides. There is also a barbecue grill for families to use.

The land is owned by the Plainview Mutual Water Company, and before the park was placed there, it was a blight on the area, according to county officials. 

“They were getting a lot of gang activity there, but this will bring a lot of positive kid activity there,” said Eric Coyne, Tulare County’s economic development coordinator.

The park was built at a cost of $275,000, part of a $650,000 grant acquired from the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Money from the grant will also be spent to improve Ledbetter Park in Cutler and Peter Malloch Park in Goshen.

“It’s a rare opportunity to create a new park,” Coyne said. “This park is the most expensive of the three, but it is the most meaningful.”

Carlos Garcia, 12, of Lindsay, was there to perform a dance with his siblings as members of El Quinto Sol De America, a nonprofit organization based in Lindsay that “uses art, culture and education to help create more just and equitable communities.”  Garcia said that even though he didn’t live within walking distance of the park, he still wanted to visit it with his brothers and sisters in the future.  “It’s cool,” he said. “I really like the colors for the playground.” Carlos’ brother, Enrique, 3, gave his approval of the new park through his actions. The toddler was in constant motion, scrambling to the top of the playground equipment to use one of the three sides, along with dozens of neighborhoods kids, who finally have a place to let loose and play.