Allen Siegler, Graduate Student Worker, County of San Diego on behalf of Vista Community Clinic
On June 8, 2021, the City of Vista approved $30,000 for a series of improvements at a local community park called Luz Duran. The vision to create a safe greenspace for Vista residents was achieved in partnership with Vista Community Clinic, Poder Popular, and Alta Planning + Design. Poder Popular is a health advocacy group committed to promoting health equity in the City of Vista.
In February 2021, community partners developed a list of priorities for Luz Duran Park. The greenspace, located in Vista’s Townsite neighborhood, was made a high priority project as the park’s shrubs were unkept, hiding potentially illicit activities from the street and making neighbors feel unsafe.
In a call to action, Poder Popular created an improvement strategy for the park with the support of the Vista Sheriff’s Department and Alta Planning + Design, an urban architecture company. A park safety plan was developed from the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design model that focused on bush trimming and improving the park’s general visibility from the street.
On June 8, the park safety plan for Luz Duran was presented to the City of Vista to request funds for the landscaping budget and to prioritize the park’s safety for the community. It was enthusiastically approved.
Vista’s Townsite residents are thrilled that the Luz Duran Park will continue to serve its community in a positive way. Vista resident, Maria Lopez, is excited about Luz Duran’s impact on the city’s youth.
“Our group of community leaders are creating a legacy for our children,” said Lopez. “They are witnessing, as a community, we can create a safer place for our families. Thank You City of Vista!”
The landscaping makeover is only one of the summer projects slated for Luz Duran Park. Currently, Poder Popular is in the process of finalizing an installation plan for a Little Free Library. The addition is part of a County of San Diego campaign to boost literacy in low-income communities. It will complement the current safety changes and further align the park with Crime Prevention through Environmental Design priorities.
Luz Duran Park is named after a local civic activist whose influence in Vista is still felt today. It provides a multi-purpose athletic field, a full-sized basketball court, playground structures, and shady greenspace for the public to enjoy. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, the park also provides free lunches for children.
“We believe that Luz Duran Park has the potential to build a stronger community bond that will catalyze a bright future for the youth and generations to come,” said Araceli Mondragon, a Vista Community Clinic Health Specialist.
For more information about these efforts, contact Deysi.Merino@vcc.org.
In related news: Vista Community Clinic leads additional park improvements in 2018.