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Vernon Approves Study of ‘Good Neighbor’ Projects

The Vernon city council on Tuesday approved a $124,000 engineering study of two projects, one to renovate a soccer field and another to build “interactive water play area,” at a city park in neighboring Huntington Park.

The council voted 4-0 to approve the study, which will be conducted by Lawrence Moss and Associates, the landscape architecture firm that also worked on Cesar Chavez Park in South Gate and Raul Perez Community Park in Huntington Park. They also did landscaping work for Vincent Lugo Park in San Gabriel.

Last August the city committed $5 million toward projects for Salt Lake Park in Huntington Park to show it could be a “good neighbor” to nearby communities. It was also done as part of a series of good governance reforms it agreed to enact in order to avoid being disincorporated. Vernon also committed $5 million to improving the Hazard Park Youth Armory in Boyle Heights.

The soccer field and the water play area, also called a “splash pad,” projects were approved by the Vernon city council last October. At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Huntington Park’s Parks and Recreation Director Josette Espinoza showed an aerial view of the soccer field currently used by their residents. She described it as more of a “dirt circle,” adding that soccer is an extremely popular sport in their community, and this renovation project was their top choice.

The water park would be built on a wading pool that was cemented over and shut down ten years ago. Both projects went out to bid last year, and those who won the bids were asked to wait until July. “Most have said yes, but now it’s getting late in the game,” Espinoza said.

The cost for the soccer field project is estimated at around $2.8 million and could involve putting in artificial turf, bathrooms, seating, and lighting; while the water park could cost around $700,000, Espinoza said.

In 2010, the city of Vernon donated a $500,000 mobile computer lab to nearby southeast cities. The city has also solicited donations from the business community to get a new playground built at Vernon Elementary School, and presented awards to students there for their achievements in various educational contests on topics ranging from anti-drug awareness to recycling used oil.