Magical Bridge

A Multi-Generational Community Playground in Mitchell Park

Friends of the Magical Bridge (sponsored by Friends of the Palo Alto Parks) and the City of Palo Alto spearheaded a movement to create a new kind of park in Palo Alto that bridges the gap between those with and without special needs in the community.  It takes accessibility and ADA compliance to a whole new level.  Nestled in a previously underutilized portion of Mitchell Park, the Magical Bridge Playground is designed to delight visitors of all ages and abilities and showcases a new kind of place to play.

Ribbon cutting for Magical Bridge took place April, 2015. For complete details on this unique playground, go to

The "New" Lytton Plaza

Lytton Plaza was developed in the 1960s by Lytton Savings & Loan as part of its office site at Emerson and University. When the S&L encountered hard times, the City acquired the plaza and held it in its original state as dedicated parkland. In 2009, after some fifty years, Lytton Plaza was completely renovated thanks to a public-private partnership between the City and a public group organized as the Friends of Lytton Plaza, sponsored by the Downtown Business Improvement District and Friends of the Palo Alto Parks.

The new design, by San Francisco architect Gary Laymon, features a welcoming fountain at the corner of University and Emerson, and includes expanded lighting and comfortable seating with tables and chairs as well as benches. Deciduous trees provide shade in the summer and light in the winter. The Plaza’s traditional use as a setting for public gatherings has been enhanced. The “new” Lytton is seeing substantially increased use.

Color Our Parks

Since 2008, Friends of the Palo Alto Parks, the city of Palo Alto, and the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto have been working together to bring color to Palo Alto’s parks.  An ongoing effort is at Rinconada Park where plantings at the park sign on Embarcadero Road are maintained on a quarterly basis.  Volunteers work at other parks as needed basis.  In the fall of 2011, they replanted, pruned, and mulched “Memorial Grove” at Eleanor Pardee Park to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  In 2013, volunteers refreshed numerous beds at the entrance of and in the courtyard at Lucie Stern Community Center.