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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | EAST COUNTY / THOUSAND OAKS

Playground Finished for Housing Project

October 28, 1998|MICHAEL GOTTLIEB

The 80 children in a public housing complex will have a much safer place to play this weekend.

The playground at Fiore Gardens, which was completed last month, will open in a 10 a.m. dedication ceremony Saturday.

Residents of the 50-unit complex say it will provide kids with their first safe place to play since Fiore Gardens opened in 1996.

"We are so happy to have this park . . . because we have been telling the children not to play in the parking lot," said Asi Ahching, 39, vice president of the resident council.

The cost of the $169,000, 2,300-square-foot playground was covered by two federal grants.

In order to live at Fiore Gardens, residents are required to meet several criteria, including income limits based on family size--$28,400 for a family of three, $31,550 for a family of four and $34,050 for five family members. Fiore Gardens is one of three public housing complexes in Thousand Oaks.

When Fiore Gardens was built, there was not enough money for a park or other youth facilities. But the new playground has been built near a newly opened community room, where youth programs are run in conjunction with the Conejo Valley Recreation and Park District.

The park was built to fit the needs of the largest percentage of children living in Fiore Gardens, said Edward Adams of the Area Housing Authority.

"It is in fact designed for children ages 5 to 12 years old, but younger children can use it with their parents," he said.

That is perfect for Ahching, whose children are 11, 6, 4 and 2.

"We are so excited," she said. "The kids can't wait to play there."

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