Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mayor, Councilmember & GM commend
Firefighters & Recovery Workers

Los Angeles - Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Councilmember Tom LaBonge and Recreation and Parks General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri honored firefighters (from many departments) and recovery workers for their hard work and dedication during and after the Griffith Park Fire.

About 1,200 acres of the park burned in the May 8-9, 2007 fire. It took 800 firefighters with 200 engine companies from all over the state to stop the devastating blaze. Fortunately there were no deaths and only one property in the bordering neighborhood suffered partial damage.

As part of the One Year Anniversary Celebration a bronze plaque was unveiled to commemorate the firefighters for the valor during the May 2007 fire. The plaque was placed on a boulder inside Griffith Park on Vermont Canyon Road. In tribute to the Park’s Recovery Effort a tree was planted near the boulder.

"It's a tribute to the training, knowledge and skill of the Los Angeles Fire Department and the many other agencies that participated in fighting this devastating blaze that no one was hurt or killed and only one home was damaged," said Councilmember LaBonge. "The Mayor and I want to recognize the great work that firefighters and rangers did one year ago during the fire."

The Mayor, Councilmember, GM Jon Kirk Mukri and Los Angeles Fire Chief Douglas Barry also recognized the many community and non-profit organizations that have helped in the Griffith Park Recovery effort over the past nine months. The recovery effort, which included the use of hydro-mulch to prevent erosion, cost about $4.2 million.

Those who donated funds to the effort include the Los Angeles Dodgers; actress Victoria Principal; the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council; the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council; Sophia Muller and Casey Parsons; New Orleans City Parks; Equestrian Trails, Inc. and Paulette Smokovich.

TreePeople, the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Pacific Asian Volunteer Association, NBC/Universal, Sidley Austin LLP and many local community groups worked with Council District 4 to organize thousands of volunteers to plant more than 200 native trees and weed out invasive non-native plants as another part of the recovery effort.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Dedication of a new Universally Accessible Playground

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks dedicated Renee's Place, a new Universally Accessible Plyaground at Pan Pacific Park on Monday, April 21, 2008.

The new UAP is dedicated to Renee Weitzer, Chief of Staff and Planning Deputy for Council District 4. For almost 30 years, Renee worked closely with the community to restore and rebuild the facilities and grounds at Pan Pacific Park, as well as parks throughout Los Angeles. She has nurtured this park's development and demanded the best for it. This play area symbolizes Renee's goals for Pan Pacific Park because it is beautiful, fun and accessible to every child, young and old.

Renee's Place has two play areas, one section for two to five-year-olds and another section for five to twelve-year-olds. Each play area has a swing set and shade structures. The UAP also has colorful resilient rubberized surfacing and benches embellished with whimsical artist created tiles.

The five to twelve-year-old area is in the shape of a train. Sound features include a train engine, whistle and sound of a train going over tracks. Another special feature of the 17,000-square-foot playground is a foot path with a water element that will provide a unique sensory activity, complete with gentle mist.

The $848,408 project was jointly designed by the Department of Recreation and Parks, Shane's Inspiration, Melendrez Design Partners and the Bureau of Engineering's Architectural Division. The Bureau's Recreational and Cultural Facilities Program managed the project, which was built by Thomsen Landscape. Funding came from Prop. K, the City General Funds and a $200,000 donation from Legacy Partners, Inc.

Renee's Place is the 9th UAP operated by the Department of Recreation and Parks. The playground is a Shane's Inspiration project and is completely wheelchair accessible. The new play area will provide an opportunity for children of all abilities to play together on an equal basis.
This new UAP brings the Department closer to accomplishing our goal to have over 20 Universally Accessible Playgrounds throughout the City of Los Angeles.

Pan Pacific is located at 7600 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles 90036. For more information on the new playground or the Department in general visit our website at http://www.laparks.org/ or call (213) 928-9200.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294
Harvey Drut: (213) 928-9296

10th annual Girls Sports Day L.A.

LOS ANGELES – The 10th annual Girls Sports Day L.A., a free event devoted to increasing female involvement in athletics, was held on Saturday, April 19, 2008, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Rancho Cienega Sports Complex, a City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks facility located at 5001 Rodeo Rd., in the Crenshaw area, next to Dorsey High School.

Hundreds of females ages 6-18 spent the day learning about and participating in various sports activities, including free clinics in basketball, football, soccer, and softball. The theme of this year’s event was “Inspire Your Inner Champion!”. Each participant received lunch and a free T-shirt.

The event was established through a partnership between Recreation and Parks and Los Angeles Women in Sports (LAWinS), and is part of the Department’s Raise the Bar Gender Equity Program, which strives to “achieve gender equity through a continuous commitment to girls and women in sports.”

Studies have shown that girls who participate in sports do better in school, are more likely to take on leadership roles, and learn to set personal goals. In addition, sports participation improves self-esteem, helps create friendships, and breaks down social barriers. Physical activity is also an effective way for girls to fight depression while lowering their risks for heart disease and breast cancer.

Jane Kolb: (213) 928-9294
Harvey Drut: (213) 928-9296