York Park One Year Later

March 17, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s been one year since a small neighborhood park opened to the public in Highland Park.

Located on the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 50, York Park was designed with input from the community.

There are not many parks or open spaces in the neighborhood, so people were excited when the park opened. At the grand opening, children could be seen running around, enjoying everything the park has to offer.

At just one-third of an acre in size, the park still attracts a lot of people. A year of use, however, has led some park-goers to now say there are issues with the design. They say there are things not needed in a child-friendly park, and believe it could be made better.

The park was designed as part of the York Vision Plan, a blueprint for improving York Boulevard for residents, businesses, walkers, bicyclists and commuters.

A committee of volunteers worked with Councilman Jose Huizar’s Office on the plan. They held meetings in the community to find out what people in the area wanted most, and a park made the list.

EGP recently sat down with some park-users to discuss their views on the final design and found opinions are split.
Gloria Hernandez, a mother of three young children, visited the park for the first time with her sister. She looked around and said she doesn’t “adore” its layout.

“This reminds me of the park at home except this one has fewer things, but more colorful” she said. “Where are the swings?”

Highland Park resident Maria Ramirez said she brings her two children to the park almost every day after school. She also wishes the park had swings.

“That exercise area is not needed, it’s a park, not a gym,” she complained. “Instead of that area being for machines it should’ve been swings,” she told EGP. “My children have gotten hurt using the machines,” she explained.

Father of three, Jose Sanchez, disagrees. “I like the exercise machines,” he said. “I get to exercise while watching my children,” he added. “This park is too small for swings.”

Several people said they believe the space for the park’ small amphitheater could have been put to better use.

Children swing from the playground at York Park. (EGP Photo by Gisela Jimenez)

Children swing from the playground at York Park. (EGP Photo by Gisela Jimenez)

Yolanda Nogueira’s family has owned the brick building across from the park since 1964. She was on the committee that helped design the park. According to Noguiera, city engineers took the committee’s ideas and came up with 8 possible designs for the community to vote on.

“We voted on the swings, we definitely wanted swings in this small park,” she told EGP, agreeing with current park-users who want to see them added.

“There was certain equipment we voted on that didn’t get put in,” but should have, said Noguiera.

EGP reached out to Councilman Huizar to ask if changes could be made at the park, such as adding swings.

The councilman told EGP he is not aware of any big concerns about the park design. He pointed out that several workshops were held to give the community a chance to share their ideas. “We also had the survey where people got to vote for their favorite design after we had an idea of what it would be like,” the councilman said.

“So, the community designed the park, it was for the community.”

Creating a park on the site of a former gas station was challenging and pricey, Huizar stressed.

“When I first heard the community wanted the park there at first I thought, ‘Wow, this may not be possible.’ I realized it was going to be pricey and we would have a long process to building everything,” the councilman told EGP.

The councilman donated money from his discretionary funds to hire a grant writer to apply for Proposition 84 state park funding, which was received.

“Yes, we are open to new ideas but we do have to keep in mind that it will cost.” Huizar said.
“We [would just] have to figure out where the money would come from.”

Gisela Jimenez is a senior at Academia Avance Charter School in Highland Park. She is interning at Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews as part of the school’s “Work Educational Experience Project.”

Save the Date! Lummis Day 2015: June 5, 6, & 7

May 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Alternative Latino Rock band Cunao, pictured, will perform on Sunday, June 7 at Sycamore Grove Park. (Lummis Day Community Foundation)

Alternative Latino Rock band Cunao, pictured, will perform on Sunday, June 7 at Sycamore Grove Park. (Lummis Day Community Foundation)

 

Lummis Day, the prized Northeast Los Angeles Festival that draws thousands of people for a celebration of the famed author it’s named for as well as other local treasures turns 10 this year.

It’s also growing to include more sites – including Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, and tributes to other great contributors to local culture.

Three Days in 5 Different Location: here’s a sample of what’s going on:

     —Friday, June 5, Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, 4:00pm-8:00pm (in cooperation with the Boyle Heights Farmers Market). Music, dance, poetry and theater.

     —Saturday, June 6, Southwest Museum in Mount Washington, 10:00am-4:00pm  (in partnership with the Arroyo Arts Collective). Art exhibits, a tribute to the late artist, mentor and printmaker Richard Duardo, poetry and music.

     —Saturday, June 6, York Park in Highland Park, 2:00pm-6:00pm.  Opera, dance, jazz and rock music.

     —Sunday, June 7: Lummis Home in Montecito Heights, 10:30 am-5:00pm: Poetry, music, crafts exhibits.

—Sunday, June 7: Southwest Museum in Mt Washington, 12:noon-5:00pm: Art exhibits, music.

     Sunday, June 7: Sycamore Grove Park in Sycamore Grove/Highland Park., 12 noon-7:00 pm. Music, dance, puppets, storytelling and other family activities.

A complete schedule of events for all sites, parking information, and the location of shuttle bus stops and bicycle racks will be available at  www.LummisDay.org/.

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