Family completes ‘68 Parks in 68 Days’
Roseville resident Elizabeth Mathis could probably, if she wanted, become a park designer tomorrow.
Mathis has plenty of opinions about what makes a fun and safe park environment, and ideas on what elements should be abolished after visiting 68 local parks and facilities in 68 days with her three young children.
She chronicled their adventures on her Facebook page, “68 Parks in 68 Days,” which finished May 14 with a visit to Lincoln Estate Parks with her 5-year-old daughter, Coral, 3-year-old son, Sterling, and 22-month-old son, Cobalt.
“Sterling’s favorite (park) is Diamond Oaks because it has one of the tallest slides we’ve been to,” Mathis, 37, said.
The mother came up with the idea to visit every Roseville park after her family relocated from Northern California when her husband, Ryan Mathis, took a job as a wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game in Sacramento.
“We moved here a year ago from Eureka and I was amazed at how many parks there were here,” she said.
They found a list of Roseville’s 68 parks and facilities, which includes two golf courses, the Mike Shellito Indoor Pool, Maidu Museum and Historic Site and Utility Exploration Center, on the city’s website and the journey began. Most of the parks Mathis didn’t even know existed.
The family currently lives near Kaseberg Park, and their project exposed them to other spaces in which to play and other neighborhoods.
On her Facebook page, Mathis remarks on some of the elements of local parks she doesn’t like: the lack of water features, rocks that pose dangers and the use of sand boxes, which she says is unsanitary, as disease-ridden critters visit them.
“It was exciting to follow the Mathis family’s journey through our Roseville park system,” said Roseville Parks, Recreation and Libraries Director Dominick Casey. “This kind of feedback is very important to us, as our mission is to enhance lives and the community by providing exceptional experiences. So, it was great to hear when we did that through our park and playground design, and when she felt we could do better.”
During a recent visit to Mark White Park on 6th Street, off Vernon Street, Coral Mathis agreed with her mom on this last point.
“I don’t like sand,” Coral said.
What she does like: going down slides.
They count among their favorite parks H.C. Elliot Park, Mahany Regional Park and Diamond Oaks Park. At each stop, the mother and children stayed for at least half an hour — running around, climbing the jungle gym and eating lunch.
Mathis said Roseville’s abundance of parks show that the city is “children-oriented.” And now that their first project is done, the family is considering embarking on a similar adventure in Rocklin.