NEWMAN - An east side neighborhood park is being upgraded and a block of Q Street has new curbs, gutter and sidewalks as a community improvement project nears completion.

The city is using about $230,000 in federal community development block grant funding to renovate Charles Klehn Memorial Park (located at Driskell and Amy) and to make improvements to Q Street between Merced and Stanislaus streets.

The work reflects a significant upgrade for their respective neighborhoods, said Kathryn Reyes, the city’s director of public works.

“The community block grant funding is to help bring up amenities in lower-income neighborhoods,” Reyes told Mattos Newspapers. “This funding is really designated for under-served areas. It is all about improving neighborhoods, and it has a big impact. It makes a difference for people in those neighborhoods.”

The park is in line for a number of improvements.

Outdated playground equipment is being replaced by a new, shaded play structure and a swing set in a second play area, Reyes said. The park will have additional tables, a new sidewalk leading to the play areas and an ADA-compliant access ramp.

The play equipment previously in place was at least 30 years old, Reyes previously estimated.

“There are a lot of safety features that playground equipment now has,” she said. “There are no sharp corners, and kids don’t get scrapes and scratches from bolts that stick out. The way they build them now, kids can’t get stuck in them and get hurt.”

Twelve inches of child-safe bark will line the fall surface beneath the play structures.

“The park is well-used now, but I expect to see a lot more use in the future,” Reyes commented. “Everybody loves a new playground.”

The Q Street project will also meet a definite need, Reyes said, as the curb, gutters and sidewalks on the west side of the street in the 1500 block were badly deteriorating.

Tree replacement will be part of that aspect of the project as well, she noted.

Both projects are being done by contractor George Reed, Inc.

Reyes said the project is scheduled for completion by the end of October.

The work is part of a five-year improvement plan which is nearing completion, she explained.

The only remaining project on that plan entails curb, gutter, sidewalks and other improvements in the neighborhood of Leslie Avenue, Pine Street, Pine Court and Sydney Avenue.

“We are getting into the details of the project and the engineering and design,” Reyes told Mattos Newspapers in July. “That will tell us what the project will entail and the cost estimates.”

The next project could be two to three years into the future, she noted.