San Diego City Council President Sean Elo Rivera at a press conference Tuesday for the “Parks After Dark” program. Photo via @SeanEloRiveraD9 Twitter
San Diego city and county leaders Tuesday officially launched “Parks After Dark,” a program intended to transform three neighborhood parks into evening community festivals every weekend this summer.
The program, part of Mayor Todd Gloria’s “Come Play Outside” initiative, will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the City Heights, Linda Vista and Skyline Hills Recreation Centers 6-9 p.m. from July 14 through Aug. 27. The events will feature live entertainment, activities for all ages, games and free meals for kids.
“We’re so grateful to our partners at the county, Parks Foundation and Price Philanthropies for making three of our popular neighborhood parks centers of fun and community for families on summer nights,” Gloria said. “These hosted nighttime activities will create lasting summer memories in a safe, healthy and fun environment.”
The city received a $500,000 grant from the county to begin the program.
“The county of San Diego is pleased to help support ‘Parks After Dark’ that provides a wide range of enjoyable, supervised activities and safe services to our neighborhood children and adults,” said Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “The county is supporting programs that improve youth mental health — and being able to enjoy our parks is one way to do that.”
The program is based on a Los Angeles County program run every summer for more than a decade. According to data provided by the San Diego Parks Foundation, the first three parks to host similar programs in Los Angeles saw a 32% decrease in serious and violent crimes within their first three years, between 2009 and 2013.
“This program builds on the success of last year’s ‘Come Play Outside’ programs and will give folks of all ages something to celebrate in their community this summer,” said Michel Anderson, parks foundation board chair.
The 2022 “Parks After Dark” schedule and activities can be found at comeplaysd.com/programs/.
City News Service contributed to this article.