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Park perimeter transforms into Candy Land

Thanks to grants and community support, one of the City’s older Parks and Recreation facilities is getting several new amenities, one of which is officially opening to the public this week.

The perimeter sidewalk of Joe Henry Optimist Center Park, 1793 S. 1st Avenue, has been transformed into a life-size version of the classic board game Candy Land. The City invites residents to see it in action during a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 7 at the park.

The grand opening event will offer free children’s health screenings and a chance to win a bicycle by completing physical activities.

“This event marks a milestone in our plan to revitalize the Mesa Heights neighborhood,” said City of Yuma Neighborhood Services Manager Rhonda Lee-James. “In addition to adding another free attraction to this park, the results also serve to beautify the area.”

Rather than needing to draw cards to advance in the game, participants would complete challenges as outlined on certain spaces. The finish line is the north side of the Joe Henry Optimist Center gymnasium, which now adorns a large mural by local artist Lia Littlewood.

Candy Land will be free to play during hours the park is open.

The project is made possible with the support of The Walt Disney Company through the Meet Me at the Park Play Spaces Program from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, and the City of Yuma.