New play structure coming to Santa Maria park


Santa Maria kids will soon have a new playground to enjoy. The city announced that it will be replacing the outdated play structure at Rodenberger Park with a colorful new one that features slides, a swing set, and a reservable field and fitness course.

“We went around and assessed all the playgrounds, and decided that this was the one that was most in need of replacement,” Recreation and Parks Assistant Director Brett Fulgoni said. “We already had a playground structure allocated for it, so we decided to go ahead and move forward with it.”

OUTDATED The current play structure at Rodenberger Park is outdated and will be replaced in the coming months. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DENNIS SMITHERMAN
  • OUTDATED The current play structure at Rodenberger Park is outdated and will be replaced in the coming months.
Fulgoni explained that particularly for older structures, there comes a point where the whole structure is better off being replaced rather than repaired.

“The existing structure is original to the park, so it’s late ’80s,” he said. “As designs change, safety gets improved … when you have an old structure like that it’s hard to find parts, hard to do replacements, and it just gets old and harder to work on as the years go by.”

Rodenberger Park is named after Ronald (Rod) Rodenberger, a city statement said, “who faithfully served on numerous volunteer boards and commissions for the betterment of the community.”

Rodenberger was a recreation and parks commissioner for more than 20 years, and a founding member and president of the People for Leisure And Youth, (PLAY) Inc., in addition to serving on other local boards, the statement said.

“Rod was also the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Jeffersonian Award, which is given to those individuals who embody and exemplify the unique and distinct ideals of true citizenship and public service to their community,” according to the statement.

Fulgoni said the replacement at Rodenberger Park will be a fairly standard, modern play structure. The work will begin in mid-May, and the city hopes to wrap up the project by mid-August.

Santa Maria is simultaneously working on more extensive parks renovations, like that of the Veterans Memorial Park.

“That’s part of a $2.1 million project, Proposition 68 grant funded,” Fulgoni said. “That one’s coming down the pike, and there’ll be a complete new playground at that facility as well.”

According to a city statement from last year, the Veterans Memorial Park renovations include “a new event plaza, playground, walking paths, exercise stations, art wall, basketball court, memorial garden, and new landscaping and lighting throughout the park.”

With multiple local park improvements on the horizon, Fulgoni said he looks forward to the community enjoying these spaces, especially as COVID-19 spread continues to be contained.

“I’m excited that people are going to be able to have some semblance of normalcy,” he said. “People are out there playing again.” Δ

—Malea Martin

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