Nonprofit so confident about state’s Elm Playlot inspection, same-day BBQ celebration planned

Iron Triangle's best parks for ages 0-5 rated by parents and mapped
Children pose in front of the Iron Triangle's Elm Playlot, which as ranked by parents as one of the neighborhood's best parks for ages 0-5.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation on Friday is set to conduct its final inspection of Elm Playlot to ensure that a $1.94 million state grant set aside to build the vibrant Iron Triangle park has been properly used.

The folks at nonprofit Pogo Park, staffed entirely by Iron Triangle residents, said Thursday they are so sure that Elm Playlot will pass inspection that a “Sign-Off BBQ” is planned at the park from noon to 1 p.m. The park is located at Elm Avenue and Eighth Street.

In fact, the state’s project officer working on the Elm Playlot grant is scheduled to attend the lunch, which will include chicken, corn and salad.

Elm Playlot’s construction was a community-wide effort. The park was designed and built by local residents and with support from the city and state parks officials. Earlier this summer, Pogo Park’s success in rebuilding Elm Playlot helped the nonprofit secure a grant from Google. And because the park was such a hit last summer, a decision was made to extend park hours in June.

Pogo Park was started in 2007 with the mission of transforming the Iron Triangle’s rarely used open spaces into vibrant parks and playgrounds. Founder Toody Maher has said vibrant parks offer kids in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods a safe place to play, resulting in reductions in obesity, asthma, ADHD and nature deficit disorder.