City Dedicates Park in Honor of the Late ‘Mr. Boyle Heights’

By Paul Aranda Jr., EGP Staff Writer

Longtime Boyle Heights resident Ross Valencia will have his memory permanently attached to the neighborhood he spent his life serving when community members gather this Veterans Day to dedicate a small park in his honor on Veterans Day. The Ross Valencia Community Park located on the northeast corner of Chicago Street and 1st Street commemorates the legacy of the World War II veteran for a lifelong service to the Boyle Heights. Valencia died on Nov 22, 2008.

Officially 0.08 acres, the small park will now mark the huge legacy of a man formerly known as ‘Mr. Boyle Heights.’ Valencia served on or led a large number of civic groups, including an 11-year stint as a chief deputy for former Los Angeles City Councilman Art Snyder (CD-14).

“In a community as active as Boyle Heights it takes a pretty extraordinary individual to earn the nickname: Mr. Boyle Heights,” said Councilman José Huizar (CD-14). “But without a doubt, Ross Valencia was an extraordinary man and naming this park in his honor will remind this and future generations about the contributions of this giant of a man — a man who represents the many activists who have made our community better.”

Valencia served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War. After the war, he returned to Boyle Heights and continued his public service through a variety of civic and business councils. Valencia is credited as a founding member of the Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of the Los Angeles City Chicano Employees Association. He also served on a committee that led to the creation of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council.

Valencia’s vast civic engagement is present with the grand opening of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension on Nov. 15. He served on the Metro Transportation Authority (MTA) Long Range Planning Committee for Countywide Transportation. He also served on the East L.A. Light Rail Advisory Committee.

The police commanders at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Hollenbeck station honored Valencia in 2003 as an “LAPD Outstanding Community Member.” He also served as a co-chair of the Boyle Heights Community Police-Advisory Board (C-PAB).

Born in Arizona, Valencia’s family moved to Boyle Heights when he was five-years-old. He attended First Street Elementary School, both Hollenbeck and Stevenson Middle School and graduated from Roosevelt High School. After the war, he attended both Los Angeles City College and East Los Angeles City College. He eventually obtained his Dental Technician certificate from the USC School of Dentistry.

Ross Valencia (EGP Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera)

Ross Valencia (EGP Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera)

Fellow veterans of the local American Legion Post 804 will be on hand at the Veterans Day dedication ceremony. According to an official of the East L.A. based architecture firm, Barrio Planners, Inc, the park was part of its 1997 Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative Boyle Heights project. She said the small park was included as an effort to reclaim a section of the neighborhood that long-served as a hotbed for drug activity.

The dedication ceremony of the Ross Valencia Community Park will take place on Veterans Day, November 11, at 10 a.m.

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November 5, 2009  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

4 Responses to “City Dedicates Park in Honor of the Late ‘Mr. Boyle Heights’”

  1. Art Snyder on November 6th, 2009 11:33 am

    Ross was a good man. He served the community because he loved it, and he felt called to help it. That is why I hired him to represent me in Boyle Heights and to assist me in the creation and completion of the projects that raised the quality of life for its people and brought the community back into the mainstream of Los Angeles life. He spent the hours, days, years that are the currency of a life for the community that he and I loved. May the people not soon forget him, and may that memory continue to lift the community as did his life.

    Art Snyder
    Member of the City Council, 14rh District, Retired

  2. Wes on November 6th, 2009 12:31 pm

    Godspeed, Mr. Valencia, may you rest in peace, sir. Excuse me, Mr. Boyle Heights, my error.

  3. Kim Garcia on November 11th, 2009 11:27 pm

    I was at this ceremony i did the Color Guard for it. Im a Young Marine and a J.R.O.T.C. Cadet. I am proud to know that someone from Boyle Heights served in World War Two and did all this great things i want to be just like him someday. May he rest in peace. HORAHH

  4. Rita Govea on March 8th, 2010 2:12 pm

    To the family of Ross Valencia ,,Thank you for shareing your husband and dad with us.,,,, .

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