The Coast News Group
Fundraising efforts will help replace the dance floor at the Encinitas Senior Center. Courtesy photo/City of Encinitas

Patrons of Encinitas Parks reorganizes, raises thousands

ENCINITAS — Infused with new board leadership and energy, a longtime nonprofit is once again raising thousands for Encinitas parks and recreational activities. 

The Patrons of Encinitas Parks revamped its board in mid-2018, and has since raised $10,000 toward a pair of causes — shade structures at local parks and beaches and most recently, to help replace the dance floor at the Encinitas Senior Center. 

The nonprofit presented the city with a $5,000 donation at the March 13 City Council meeting. 

“We’ve been working like crazy to raise this $5,000, and we are right there now,” said Sanford Shapiro, the president of the nonprofit’s board of directors. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a labor of love.”

Patrons of Encinitas Parks has its roots in the city’s pre-incorporation days, when a group of residents banded together to raise money to purchase a sliver of land along Vulcan Avenue south of City Hall to keep it out of the hands of developers.

Following incorporation, the City Council drew inspiration from the group and purchased the land, creating Mildred MacPherson Park. 

Later, the group resurfaced in the city’s efforts to acquire the Hall Property, which later became Encinitas Community Park.

But by the start of this decade, the group’s core membership became inactive. It wasn’t until the beginning of the year when new Parks and Recreation director Jennifer Campbell reached out to Shapiro, a longtime parks and recreation commissioner, about reviving the organization.

By May, Shapiro said, he and a group of former commissioners formed a new board, entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city to raise money on the city’s behalf, and started fundraising. 

Shapiro on March 13 said the group is moving onto its next fundraising effort, once again aimed and raising money for more shade structures.