SANTA CRUZ -- The Parks and Recreation Department invites the community to the official dedication of the new Riverside Gardens Park on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 10 am at 262 San Lorenzo Blvd. The event will feature ceremonies with special guest Mayor Lynn Robinson, music and refreshments.
This new lower Ocean St neighborhood park was funded by the California State Parks Office of Grants and Local Services (OGLS). Named for gardens on the site over a century ago, the park features a playground for kids ages 12 and under, adult exercise equipment, multiple benches and picnic tables, pergola, rock swale features and solar LED lighting. The park will also feature an ADA accessible community gardens with raised planter boxes and decorative metal fencing.
"This park is packed with amenities and we're very proud of it," said Mauro Garcia, Parks Superintendent. "We really appreciate the funding from OGLS and the neighborhood support of the project," said Garcia.
The site has a rich history dating from the 1880s according to local historian Ross Gibson. The Riverside Hotel there was home to the Barson family and a popular stay for guests, offering full-service hotel rooms and garden cottages as well as docks on the San Lorenzo River, boat rentals, swimming holes, tennis, croquet, orchards, clubhouse and a livery stable. The hotel shuttle met all trains at the Depot Train Station and steamships at the now century-old Santa Cruz Wharf.
Hotel excursions were offered via horse-drawn touring coaches to Big Trees Redwood Grove (now Henry Cowell State Park). The Santa Cruz Venetian Water Carnivals originated there in 1895 and drew visitors to the hotel for more than 30 years. Room rates in 1915 were $3 per night for a room with private bath. The clubhouse offered a ballroom, bar and "ten-pin alley." Ross Gibson will be on hand at the dedication to share more stories and photos of the old Riverside Hotel and Gardens.
For more information on the Riverside Gardens Park dedication, call 831-420-5270.