Frenchmans Creek new playground

A local group has donated money to complete the playground at Frenchmans Creek Park. Adam Pardee / Review

The city of Half Moon Bay last week accepted a $25,000 donation from the nonprofit Friends of Half Moon Bay Parks and Recreation to cover the cost of improvements at Frenchmans Creek Park. The funds are meant to cover a new play structure, which opened for use on June 8 after the previous one was found to be unsafe and deteriorating.

Plans to renovate the play structure had been on the city’s books for a few years before it acquired permits and bought supplies by the spring of 2020. But the work had to be postponed and the park closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Faced with budget cuts, the city canceled many non-essential programs and projects. Funding for the park was put on hold for the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget, and the city eventually removed the play structure in October after it was deemed even more of a safety hazard.

The decision prompted the nonprofit to reach out to the city and get involved. City leaders, staff and the nonprofit collaborated on a donation campaign to raise money for a new structure at the city-owned park. Maria Burns, an administrator with Friends, said the volunteer-run organization “used all the avenues” to collect funds, including enlisting kids to go door-to-door, installing banners, mailing postcards to the Frenchmans Creek neighborhood, and a push through Coastside Gives.

“It really was a great community effort,” Burns said. “It was amazing. When I went to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, it was such a nice turnout of people in the community.”

In addition to the new slides, poles and artificial turf, the play structure includes a new interactive animal soundboard. The Friends kept a portion of the donations and is working with local Boy Scouts to build a donor wall. To learn more about the Friends and its work with the city, visit

The nonprofit acts as a funding arm of the Half Moon Bay Recreation Department. In past years it has raised money for improvements at Mac Dutra Plaza and the Half Moon Bay skate park. The city is examining a second phase of improvements at the park and could include more parking, accessibility features and a new swing set.

August Howell is a staff writer for the Review covering city government and public safety. Previously, he was the Review’s community, arts and sports reporter. He studied journalism at the University of Oregon.

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