LATHAM MEMORIAL FAMILY PARK
As the historic, yet troubled, buildings of 1920s Latham Sanitarium were demolished, and the crumbled heaps of brick lay before us, CPI had a vision. The vision promised a much-needed park space for the City’s residents, particularly those residing on the north side of town where the old hospital stood for decades.
CPI members recognized this park’s place within its mission—encouraging and promoting community development representing community pride and enhancing the appearance of the City --while also retaining historical properties and landmarks.
In the autumn of 2019, CPI put down a $10,000 deposit on the property as a show of commitment and then sought to raise the remaining $85,000 needed to fund the purchase. Within months, citizens came through with those donations. After much brainstorming and soliciting of ideas, the park’s needed components became clear and include:
Additional plans include a mural on a nearby building which will depict the Hospital as it stood on this spot for so many years.
After acquiring the property CPI engaged an arborist who recommended removing the old diseased trees on the property. The removal was accomplished by California city workers. The grounds were then cleared of considerable debris left from the hospital demolition. The wrought iron fence, located on the perimeter of the property, has been cleaned and repainted. An octagonal concrete base to house the gazebo was poured and additional grounds clean-up was accomplished.
Top soil was hauled to the site in September along with sand planned to fill areas exhibiting some subsidence. The mural painting also began in September and is progressing at this time. In early October electrical service was trenched and installed from the power pole to the gazebo pad site.
The gazebo arrived in October 2020 from Pennsylvania and has been erected near the center of the property. The Victorian-style structure is 24 foot in diameter and is three tiered, standing over 25 feet in height. It is primarily constructed of white vinyl designed to minimize future maintenance. A large copper turkey weathervane will crown the gazebo as requested by the anonymous donor who donated funds for the gazebo.
The plans for the children’s playground are in the final stages with cost estimation. The veteran’s memorial is also in advanced planning stages and preliminary sketches have been presented to local veterans groups.
CPI wishes to thank the many donors who made the purchase of the property and work to date possible. CPI also thanks the city workers and many volunteer workers involved to date. The support of the citizens of California has been gratifying and a testament to the generosity of the many citizens who care deeply for this city. The rate of future progress will largely depend on the amount and timing of funding in support of the project received.
The plan is for CPI to donate the completed park to the city of California once it is completed.