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History of Costa Mesa Parks & Facilities

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Balearic Park - 1975 Balearic Dr.  N/A

Owned by the Newport Mesa Unified School District, Balearic is named after the street on which it is located. Many streets in the area are named after islands, including Balearic which is an island chain off the coast of Spain. The Balearic Community Center building located on the site was originally Balearic School.  Since 1975 the City has leased the property from NMUSD.

Bark Park - 970 Arlington Dr.
 N/A Named after Costa Mesa's only dog park.
Brentwood Park - 265 E. Brentwood Pl  N/A Began with 1.5 acres and was expanded to 2.6 acres after the City acquired the additional space after the closing of Park Private Day School. In 2009 the Costa Mesa City Council voted to keep the park free of basketball and tennis courts. Dedicated January 1978. 265 Brentwood St.
Canyon Park - 970 Arbor St.  N/A Name refers to its location within a canyon.  The land for the park was purchased by the City in 1975, though it did not open for public use until 1992. Dedicated April 18, 1992.
Civic Center Park - 970 Arbor St
 N/A Named after it's proximity to City Hall and Police Station.
Costa Mesa Police Department - 99 Fair Dr.  N/A

Arthur R. McKenzie (1918-1988), Costa Mesa’s first Chief of Police, was raised in Los Angeles, attended their public schools, and attended Los Angeles City College before joining the Los Angeles Police Department.  In 1951 he contracted polio and was retired from the LA Police Department.  He continued his education, and while doing so, began recovering from polio.  

In 1953 he was hired by George Coffey, the City Manager of Costa Mesa, and became the first policeman and the first Chief of Police of the city.  Within two months, he had hired three policemen and commanded the department as the city and the department grew.  In 1963, he became Director of Public Safety – Assistant City Manager, and in 1965, City Manager, a post he held until 1970.  Beginning in 1963 when he was in charge of both the Police and Fire departments, he was affectionately called “Super Chief” by his employees.  Because of the high standards he expected of those he worked with, the Police Department was known as one of the outstanding departments in the nation. 

McKenzie was active in numerous civic and charitable groups, including the March of Dimes, Elks, Amigos Viejos, Shrine, Lions Club, and various police associations.  He served as chairman of the Youth Services Program.  

Costa Mesa Skate Park - 900 Arlington Dr.   Skateboarders and in-line skaters can enjoy the park seven days a week year-round from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closed Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for maintenance). Skaters are required to wear a helmet and full pads (knee and elbow). This 15,000-square-foot skate park features street elements, a kidney-shaped pool, and a bowl.
Del Mesa Park - 2080 Manistee Dr. Del Mesa Housing Track Del Mesa Park was named after the Del Mesa housing tract. Dedicated April 1980.
Donald Dungan Library - 1855 Park Ave Donald Dungan The first city attorney for Costa Mesa 1953 until 1966. Donald was born in Garden Grove CA. He attended the University of California at Berkley, where he graduated from law school. He joined the army and served in WWII as a tank commander fourth armor division. After his honorable discharge from the army, he moved to Costa Mesa in 1946. Donald served as a judge on the Harbor Judiciary District Court for 16 years. He was also appointed to the board of trustees of Newport Harbor High School. 
Estancia Park - 1900 Adams Ave Named for Estancia (Spanish for “cattle ranch” Is named for Estancia (Spanish for “cattle ranch”) Adobe, also known today as the Diego Sepulveda Adobe. The original Adobe was built on the site in 1820, and a restoration of this building is currently located in the park. Dedicated September 23, 1963.
Fairview Park - 2525 Placentia Ave Town of Fairview Although 35 acres of land were purchased earlier from the State for this park, the balance of the 210 acres was purchased from Orange County in 1987.  The park had originally been conceived of as part Costa Mesa's "green belt".  The master plan for this park dictates that the park will remain a "natural" park because of its archaeological and paleontological resources. The eastern section of the park contains a miniature railroad that provides free rides the third weekend of the month.  A bridge connecting both parts of the park was constructed in 2006. Dedicated April 21, 1990.
Gisler Park - 1250 Gisler St. Samuel Gisler Named for local farmer and Swiss immigrant Samuel Gisler.  Mr. Gisler started his dairy farm in 1908 and grew beets, barley and alfalfa.
Harper Park - 425 E. 18th St Gregory Harper Commemorates Gregory Harper, who founded the town of Harper (predecessor to Costa Mesa) in 1891. The name of Harper also adorned the town’s railroad station and first school. Dedicated March 15, 1965. 
Heller Park - 257 E. 16th St Charles Heller

Opened in 1969 and was named for Charles “Chuck” Heller, Costa Mesa’s first Superintendent of Streets (Public Works Director).  Costa Mesa originally secured the land as a maintenance yard at no charge in an inter-agency land swap with the (then) Costa Mesa County Water District.  Heller himself forwarded the concept of the land becoming a city park.

Jordan Park - 2141 Tustin Ave Mayor William T. Jordan Named after former Costa Mesa Mayor William T. Jordan.  Mr. Jordan served on the committee that led to the incorporation of Costa Mesa, following up with service on the Costa Mesa Planning Commission, City Council, Orange County American Institute of Architects, Boys Club and Chamber of Commerce. Dedicated September 8, 1981.
Ketchum-Libolt - 2150 Maple St.
Police Officers James "Dave" Ketchum and John "Mike" Libolt
This park is a tribute to Costa Mesa police officers James “Dave” Ketchum and John “Mike” Libolt, who were killed March 10, 1987 in a helicopter crash. They are the only Costa Mesa police officers ever to die in the line of duty. Henry’s Market contributed $10,000 to the Costa Mesa Community Foundation towards the park’s playground equipment. Dedicated August 5, 2005
Lindbergh Park - 220 E. 23rd St
Charles Lindbergh
Named after Lindbergh School, built in 1931. The school was named after Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator who flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. The school children were given the opportunity to choose the name for the school, and selected Lindbergh, a national hero.
Lions Park - 570 W. 18th St.
 Lions Club
Lions Park began its life in 1940 as Costa Mesa Park after the citizens of the still unincorporated community petitioned the County for a park district. The 10-acre site selected was purchased from Alice Plumer, the person who had picked the community's name in 1920. Much later, the county park district was transferred to the incorporated City of Costa Mesa. In the late 1970s, the name was changed to Lions Park because of that group's long history of holding their Fish Fry community fundraiser in the park. The park now includes Davis Field, Costa Mesa Historical Society, Downtown Recreation Center, Neighborhood Community Center, Costa Mesa Donald Dungan Library, and Fire Station 5.
Marina View Park - 1035 W. 19th St.
 Marina Project
Named after a proposed marina project that was to be located near the park. While the marina was never built, the name remains on the park.
Mesa Verde Park - 1795 Samar Dr.
Mesa Verde Housing Track
Named after the Mesa Verde housing tract. Dedicated June 29, 1959.
Moon Park - 3377 California St.
1968 Moon Landing
Commemorates the July 20, 1969 Moon landing.The park once featured outer-space themed playground equipment which have since been replaced by traditional slides and jungle gyms.The 30-foot cratered gray concrete dome, which simulates the lunar surface, is still a prominent feature of the park.
Paularino Park - 1040 Paularino Ave
Town of Paularino
Is named after the town of Paularino, which was located on the site in the late 19th century. “Paularino” is an anglicization of the name of an early settler to the area, Edward Polloreno.
Pinkley Park - 360 E. Ogle St.
Alvin "Pink" Pnkley
Named for Alvin “Pink” Pinkley, one of Costa Mesa’s founding fathers. Mr. Pinkley was elected to the city’s second City Council in 1954, eventually serving 23 years, including three terms as mayor. The park was named for Alvin “Pink” Pinkley, one of Costa Mesa’s founding fathers. Mr. Pinkley was elected to the city’s second City Council in 1954, eventually serving 23 years, including three terms as mayor. Dedicated 1978.
Shalimar Park - 782 Shalimar Dr.
Shalimar Neighborhood
Named for the Shalimar neighborhood where it is located. Dedicated January 16, 1999.
Shiffer Park - 3143 Bear St.
Jacob "Jake" Shiffer
Named for Jacob “Jake” Shiffer, who served on the local school board for 57 years. The park is located near the site of the old Paularino School, which was built in 1912.  In addition to supporting local education, Mr. Shiffer was an early Costa Mesa farmer, and the Shiffer farm was located between Baker and Paularino near Bear Street. Dedicated March 1978
Smallwood Park - 3143 Bear St.
Don and Mary Smallwood
Named after Don and Mary Smallwood, both of whom were extremely active in the local community. Mrs. Smallwood was a city council member and Mr. Smallwood served on the Newport Mesa Unified School District school board from 1971 to 1978. Dedicated November 8, 1978
Suburbia Park - 3302 Alabama Cir.
Suburbia Housing Tract.
Named after the Suburbia housing tract.
Tanager Park - 1780 Hummingbird
Street on which it is located.
Named for the street on which it is located.  Many of the streets in this area are named for varieties of birds.
TeWinkle Park - 970 Arlington Dr.
 Charles TeWinkle
Named after Charles TeWinkle, who came to Costa Mesa in 1920 with his wife “Goldie”.  Mr. TeWinkle was a local businessman and a director of several local banks. He was elected the first mayor of the newly-incorporated City of Costa Mesa in 1953. He died in 1962. Dedicated January 31, 1965
Vista Park - 1200 Victoria St.
 N/A Named for the spectacular views available from the park.
Wakeham Park - 3400 Smalley St.
Hubert Henry Wakem Named after Hubert Henry Wakeham, progenitor of one of the oldest family names linked to Costa Mesa. Wakeham purchased 208 acres in what would become Costa Mesa in 1870, and members of the Wakeham family continue to reside in the city to this day.  Wakeham Park is located just south of the original Wakeham land purchase
Wilson Park - 360 W. Wilston St
Mayor Robert M. Wilson
Named after Costa Mesa Mayor Robert M. Wilson.  Mr. Wilson was a part of the Planning Commission that established the “green belt” through Costa Mesa.  Dedicated 1977
Wimbledon Park - 3440 Wimbledon Way
Wimbledon housing tract
 Named after the Wimbledon housing tract.