Play area planned for Donner Creek Mobile Home Park |

Play area planned for Donner Creek Mobile Home Park

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun A child rides his bike in Donner Creek Mobile Home Park on Wednesday.

More than a month after a 4-year-old boy was struck and killed by a pickup truck in Donner Creek Mobile Home Park, community officials say that they are making progress toward building a children’s park among the mobile homes.In the weeks following Mario Zarate’s death, the Truckee community donated thousands of dollars to fill a pressing need in Donner Creek Mobile Home Park: The construction of an area other than the narrow streets where kids could bike, skateboard and play safely.The news is welcome to those within the mobile home park.”We need a park,” said Victor Ramirez, standing in front of his home to keep an eye on his children as they play.

All of the residents of the mobile home park agree that the area needs a play area, he said.Jaime Sanchez said that although he has a grassy yard and a small pool in front of his mobile home, he still worries about his 7-year-old playing outside.”I do get concerned,” Sanchez said. “There are too many cars.”The Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, which estimates that they have received $3,000 in donations for the idea of a children’s park, has been discussing the idea with the property owner, a large real estate firm named Newport Pacific Capital Company, based in Irvine, Calif.According to foundation president Lisa Dobey, the company does not object to having a park built in the mobile home area, but the specifics have not been worked out yet.

No matter the outcome of the discussions with the property owner, the foundation is committed to helping out the kids in Donner Creek Mobile Home Park one way or the other, Dobey said.”I am not sure that there will be a playground or a play area for kids there,” she said. “Whatever happens I know that there will be an increased investment in the kids.”That could come in the form of recreation programs at the mobile home park, she said. One member of the Lahontan Golf Club recently donated 78 bike helmets for the kids at the mobile home park, said Dobey.Truckee police are also planning on holding a “bike rodeo” at Donner Creek Mobile Home Park on Saturday to talk about bike safety.The donations and concerns over safety following the death of Zarate are a positive response to a tragic event for the community, said Ruth Hall, Truckee School Readiness Coordinator.

“There was just a huge community response,” Hall said. “It has elicited a lot of partners and put a lot of attention on a very deserving population, including kids, that are invisible a lot of times.”Community members interested in helping with the park have looked at the area at the corner of Highway 89 and West River Street, which is used for snow storage in the winter, as a possible summer playground, she said.But the attention has brought to light other issues, like the fact that many residents observe vehicles cutting through the mobile home park to avoid the stoplight at West River Street. The narrow roads, kids playing and vehicles detouring through the area makes for a bad mix, she said.”It’s better to wait in traffic for five minutes that to drive through a crowded residential area where children play,” Hall said.Ramirez said the community needs to look into gating one road off to keep vehicles from using it as a shortcut.

“I think they have to close one of the entries and use only one of the entries,” Ramirez said.While residents and community leaders are hoping that the mobile home park will soon have its own play area for children, they said are not counting on it. By trying to make the mobile home park a safer place for children in several different ways, they are hopeful that they can avoid a tragedy like the one that happened last month.”I know that life is going to be better for families and kids at the park because of what is going on,” Hall said.The Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation is taking donations to help the children at Donner Creek Mobile Home Park. If you would like to donate, call 587-1776. Donations will be used to build a kids park or bring recreation programs to the kids at the mobile home park.

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