History of Costa Mesa Parks & Facilities

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Park/Facility Name Named After  Information
Balearic Park - 1975 Balearic Dr.  N/A Owned by the Newport Mesa Unified School District. The Balearic Community Center building located on the site was originally Balearic School.  Since 1975 the City has leased the property from NMUSD.
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.
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.