ESCONDIDO — Following years of work to revamp the lakeside playground at Dixon Lake, the city is now home to its first-ever all-inclusive, ADA-compliant playground.
The Kiwanis Club of Escondido-Hidden Valley, the group behind the new playground, held a dedication event on Jan. 12 in honor of the playground officially reopening.
Over the last eight years, the club has raised funds and applied for grants to fund the two-part playground, which now features a jungle gym resembling a ship and a brand-new ADA-accessible merry-go-round.
The jungle gym was completed during the COVID-19 pandemic but wasn’t accessible to the public until spring 2021. The merry-go-round was next, breaking ground and completing construction last year.
According to Jim Mac Isaac, assistant director of the project, the dream of such a playground surfaced in early 2000, but work didn’t begin until 2016. With two fishing derbies each year and many other tasks to complete, it took some time for the club to raise the necessary funds and get things rolling for the new playground.
Altogether, the project cost about $253,000.
“It took us a long time to reach that,” Isaac said.
The new playground replaced the former aged and deteriorating playground that previously sat in the same spot by Dixon Lake and is now the city’s first and only all-inclusive, ADA-compliant playground.
Few other all-inclusive playgrounds exist throughout the county. Last month, Poway opened its new $1.4 million all-inclusive playground at Lake Poway.
Several club representatives, city firefighters and other officials visited Dixon Lake for the playground dedication.
Councilmember Christian Garcia praised the new playground, noting that his young son, nephews and nieces will get to enjoy it.
“This is a beautiful thing,” Garcia said. “I want to thank the Kiwanis Club for everything that you’ve done.”