Friday, November 21, 2008

MacArthur Park Improvement Project Groundbreaking

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks celebrated the start of the MacArthur Park Improvement Project on Thursday, October 23, 2008. The project's goal is to improve existing facilities within the park to improve public safety and enhance its usability. MacArthur Park lies in one of the most densely-populated areas in the City, therefore the new improvements will surely be useful and enjoyed by the park's many visitors.

MacArthur Park, formerly Westlake Park, is named after General Douglas MacArthur and is the City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument number 100. Approximately 40 acres MacArthur Park is located in a highly urbanized area of central Los Angeles.

Improvements include a new playground, picnic area and lighting system. A 37,000 square-foot synthetic field will replace the existing dirt field. When completed the new field will be added to the half dozen synthetic turf playing fields managed by the Department.

The $2.4 million project is funded by Proposition K and Park West Landscape, Inc is the contractor. The MacArthur Park Improvement Project is scheduled to be completed in about 9 months.

Dedicated and opened in 1887, MacArthur Park is one of the most popular parks run by the Department of Recreation and Parks. The park was the inspiration for a 1968 song written by Jimmy Webb and covered by various artists, including Donna Summer. It has also been featured in many movies, television shows and commercials. MacArthur Park is truly a historical place.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294
Amy A. Garcia: (213) 928-9289

Swearing-in Ceremony for two Mounted Patrol Horses

Los Angeles - On Wednesday, October 15, 2008, Sherman and Wilbur stood before Chief Ranger Albert Torres, raised their right hoofs and took an oath to "preserve and protect our park environments, provide field patrol services for city regional parks and assist with the safeguarding of lives and property." Chief Ranger Torres then officially welcomed Sherman and Wilbur into the Ranger Mounted Patrol Unit.

Originally created in the early 1970's, the Ranger Mounted Unit was established to provide services to the users of Griffith Park's extensive bridle trails. The Unit provided daily patrols and assisted stranded riders and hikers, stopped runaway horses and provided medical aid. Mounted Rangers also helped enforce various state and local municipal laws.

The first four Rangers assigned to the Mounted Unit housed their horses at the Griffith Park's pony rides because the Equestrian Center had not yet been built. Over the years, the Unit evolved into an integral part of the Ranger Division and obtained a horse trailer and expanded to Elysian Park, Sepulveda Basin and Hansen Dam.

Due to declining budgets and competing priorities, the Mounted Unit operations were scaled back. Sherman and Wilbur's new appointments were made possible by a generous grant from the Los Angeles Parks Foundation. The gracious gift allowed the Department of Recreation and Parks to assign two Park Rangers, Ryan Bernaldo and Arcelia Rosas, to the Mounted Unit and purchase their partners Sherman and Wilbur and necessary equipment.
After the ceremony, Rangers Bernaldo and Rosas rode Sherman and Wilbur into Griffith Park to begin their first day as part of the Mounted Unit Patrol.
Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294
Amy A. Garcia: (213) 928-9289