t is an amazing time for the Department of Parks and Recreation as we continue to build on our commitment to providing places and programs that help residents lead more fun, enriched and active lives.
A large part of that mission involves connecting people with nature. For example, we launched trails.lacounty.gov with a wealth of resources for hikers, mountain bicyclists, and equestrians on L.A. County’s incomparable multi-use trail system. The opening of an Oak Woodland at Descanso Gardens, meanwhile, provided new acreage to the public, while giving visitors a glimpse of what the region looked like centuries ago. Phase I of a multi-year rehabilitation project began at the Tesoro Adobe Historic Park.
We also brought new facilities and major improvements to existing resources, including the beautiful new 3,300-square-foot community center at San Angelo Park. The $14.8 million Belvedere Aquatic Center made a splashy summer opening, featuring East Los Angeles’ first Olympic-size outdoor swimming pool. At El Cariso Community Park, $13 million in improvements were also completed in autumn—including new sports fields and a Universally Accessible Playground.
We yelled “play ball!” at new Dodgers Dreamfields in parks in South L.A. and Compton, while the West Athens community celebrated the grand re-opening of Helen Keller Park with a host of new amenities for the community to enjoy. Also, the county’s newest addition, Faith and Hope Park, has a name that reflects a community instrumental in its realization and shows that with a little faith and hope anything is possible.
A brand-new location bloomed in spring last year: Orange Grove Park, with 5.5 acres of parkland set against the picturesque Hacienda Heights hills. Amenities include a jogging path, children’s play area and exercise stations. Nearby, surrounded by seven acres of park space, a host of performing arts-related features at the newly-opened, 21,000-square-foot Hacienda Heights Community Center is revolutionizing the concept of a local gathering place.
Looking ahead, we will press forward in our mission to serve Los Angeles County’s 10 million-plus residents. At the center of everything we do stands our guiding principle: “Parks Make Life Better!”