Thursday, December 03, 2009

14th Annual Griffith Park Holiday Light Festival

Los Angeles - Get your OOHS and AWES ready!! The Griffith Park Holiday Light Festival is opening tonight, December 3, 2009! This magnificent display of lights along a one-mile segment of Crystal Springs Drive has become a holiday tradition that attracts more than half million visitors each year.

The 14th annual Griffith Park Light Festival will be open nightly from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm from December 3 through December 30, 2009 with a spirited display of seasonal scenes accompanied by music.

Today's kick-off will be Bike Night, giving cyclists a chance to enjoy the FREE show of traditional holiday portrayals together with images of Los Angeles history. From Friday, December 4 through Thursday, December 17, the festival will be vehicle free as part of the City's efforts to have a greener L.A.; Friday, December 11 through Sunday, December 13 there will be an educational mini-fair with information on family activities, healthy nutrition, some tasty holiday treats and more.

FREE parking will be first-come, first-served at the Los Angeles Zoo, near the merry-go-round and near the pony rides. Those planning to go should wear comfortable shoes to cover the one-mile route and warm clothing.

Beginning Friday, December 18 and continuing nightly through Wednesday, December 30, the attraction will be open for those who want to drive through the presentation, the entrance to which is off of Los Feliz Blvd., or take a FREE shuttle from the Zoo parking area. Walkers are also welcome during this portion of the festival's run.

For equestrians, Department of Recreation and Parks staff will be on hand December 9-10, 14-17, 21-24 and 28-30 (Monday - Thursday) from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm to help keep walkers and horse riders safe.

Festival sponsors include the Los Angeles: Department of Water and Power, Department of Recreation and Parks, Visitors and Convention Bureau, Department of Transportation, Zoo, World Airports and Autry National Center.

Those planning to go are encouraged to do so Monday - Thursday, when crowds will be smaller. For more information, go to, or call (323) 913-4688.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694
Harvey Drut: (213) 202-2696

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

12th annual Downtown on Ice at Pershing Square

Los Angeles - It's time to pull out and dust off your scarves and mittens or maybe just a long sleeved shirt, depending on the L.A. weather!! Downtown on Ice (DOI) at Pershing Square is back for its 12th season.

The Department of Recreation and Parks in partnership with Councilwoman Jan Perry celebrated the official opening of Downtown on Ice at Pershing Square on Friday, November 20, 2009 with special guests Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa and The Grinch.

Performances by L.A. Ice Theater's Youth Ensemble, Olympic bound two-time National Pairs Champions Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubacker and a musical number from The Grinch kicked-off the opening ceremony, which was emceed by Mayor Villaraigosa.

With a low admission price, DOI is the coolest way to add a little winter chill to the holidays without spending a lot of money. The outdoor ice rink is open seven days a week through January 18, 2010. An hour on the 70-foot by 50-foot rink is $6, plus $2 for skate rentals. Metro and MetroLink riders can get a $1 discount by showing a coupon which is available on all mass transit lines.

Downtown on Ice is open Monday through Thursday from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Friday through Sunday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. There will be special extended holiday hours starting December 18 through January 10, when the rink will be open EVERYDAY from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. DOI will also be open on all of the major holidays; Thanksgiving Day from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Christmas Day from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm, New Years Day from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Martin Luther King Day from 11:00 to 10:00 pm.

For the first time this year, Mommy and Me Stroller Skate sessions will be offered on Tuesday mornings from 10:00 am to 11:00 am (December 1, 8, 15 and January 12). New mothers can now share in the fun by pushing their bundles of joy in their strollers onto the ice.

Beyond skating, a medley of FREE events including a winter concert series, Winter Holiday Festival, championship skating exhibitions and much more will be offered at Pershing Square throughout the Downtown on Ice season.

Pershing Square is located in the heart of downtown at 532 South Olive Street 90013. Underground discount parking is available with rink validation. For more information and a detailed session/event schedule go to or call (213) 847-4970.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holiday exhibition at Banning Residence Museum

Wilmington - Come see what a Victorian Christmas looked like! Banning Residence Museum, a City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks facility, will have a four-week holiday exhibition added to its regular tour beginning Saturday, December 5, 2009.

The museum will be transformed into a Victorian re-creation of "A Southern California Christmas". The setting of the house will be a large afternoon Christmas dinner and will show how Southern Californians tried to create a feeling of winter in a semi-tropical climate.

Included in the exhibition will be a display of 14 mannequins wearing period clothing and there will be seasonal decorations throughout the museum. The special holiday show will run through Sunday, January 3, 2010.

Tours are offered daily except Monday and Friday at 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm, with additional tour on Saturday and Sunday at 3:30 pm. Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children under 12.

For more information about the holiday presentation of the museum call (310) 548-7777 or visit Because the museum is being renovated, the annual Victorian Christmas, which is held the first weekend in December, will not take place in 2009.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

Harvey Drut: (213) 202-2696
10th annual "Civil War Christmas" at the Drum Barracks Museum

Los Angeles - Tour the museum to experience how Christmas was celebrated in the early 1860s through authentic re-creations of holiday festivities, with decorations, entertainment including seasonal songs that are sung and played on a collection of vintage hand bells and more.

Ladies from the U.S. Sanitary Commission (which was the precursor of the American Red Cross) will talk about their efforts to provide soldiers with supplies the Army could not and to ensure their health and safety. Medical practices used during the era will be demonstrated and displayed, as will artifacts and weapons and sewing machines and techniques. There will also be reenactments of battlefield encounters and surveillance practices.

The museum also has a two-part exhibition recognizing the bicentennial of the year in which President Abraham Lincoln was born. "Lincoln and California" chronicles his interest in visiting the Golden State after the war and possibly even settling here. "Lincoln in Everyday Life" shows the prevalence of the image and name of the 16th president today.

For more information about the Drum Barracks "A Civil War Christmas" or the museum call (310) 548-7509. Guided tours are offered Tuesday through Thursday at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, noon and 1:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm through the end of the year. A $5 donation is requested for visitors age 12 or older.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694
Harvey Drut: (213) 202-2696
7th annual "Train Ride to Visit Santa" at Travel Town Museum

Los Angeles - ALL ABOARD!!! Grab your winter gloves and beanies, we're going to visit SANTA!
The 7th annual Train Ride to Visit Santa holiday program at Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park will begin the weekend of Saturday, November 28-29, 2009.

From 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm both nights, passengers will take a short trip aboard the Santa Express miniature train to the North Pole, where they can tour jolly old Saint Nick's residence and visit with Santa as he prepares for his annual global travelling. Mrs. Claus will be the evening's hostess, giving visitors an inside scoop about life at the top of the world.

The return trip will go through a wonderland of holiday lights, scenery and music. The holiday program is put on by Travel Town Railroad, weather permitting, in cooperation with the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Additional dates for this special holiday presentation are December 4-6, 11-13 and 16-23, and those planning to go should dress for cold weather. Tickets are $7 per person; children 18 months old or younger can ride for FREE and parking is also FREE. Digital photos with Santa can be purchased for $5, or guests can take their own photos for FREE.

Given the popularity of the attraction, buying tickets in advance at the Travel Town ticket booth or online at is suggested. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the gate.

Travel Town Museum is located at 5200 Zoo Drive in Los Angeles 90027. For more information about the Train Ride to Visit Santa call (818) 881-2586 or (323) 662-9678.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694
Harvey Drut: (213) 202-2696

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dedication of Gilbert Lindsay Recreation Center

Los Angeles - The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks proudly dedicated a new recreation center at Gilbert Lindsay on Thursday, November 12, 2009. General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri, Commissioner Johnathan Williams, Councilwoman Jan Perry and local residents all helped celebrate the South Los Angeles facility's opening.

The inspiration for the new building came from it's unique history as the site of the original Wrigley Field Ballpark, which hosted local minor league baseball teams for over 30 years and was once home to the Los Angeles Angels. The design layout, which includes a center height tower highlighting the entrance and two smaller side towers, mimics the entrance to a ballpark open field through it's auditorium tunnel.

The project consisted of the construction of a one-story recreation building that includes a large multipurpose room, an office, warming kitchen and new electric, storage and maintenance rooms. There are ADA compliant unisex restrooms inside and outside of the new 2,400-square-foot center. The project also included the resurfacing of the outdoor basketball courts, new lighting, installation of a chain link fence, a new asphalt-paved parking lot and access driveway; along with a new irrigation system, trees and other landscaping improvements.

The $2.3 million project was designed by Public Works' Bureau of Engineering and constructed by Los Angeles Engineering, Inc. Funding was provided by Quimby Funds and Propositions K, 12 and 40.

Gilbert Lindsay Recreation Center is located at 429 East 42nd Street in Los Angeles 90011. The historic location offers 18 acres of great ethnic diversity, including two synthetic soccer fields and a skate park. Their classes and programs range from arts and crafts, senior citizen fitness and cooking. For more information on this location, please call the center directly at (323) 846-7584.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694
Amy A. Garcia: (213) 202-2689

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nature walks to the internationally renowned icon led by a Park Ranger

LOS ANGELES – Need a good walk to make-up for all the turkey you’re going to eat on Thanksgiving? Want to find a fun and inexpensive activity to do with your family and/or friends for the Holiday weekend? Join Ranger Ernie Ybarra on a free nature hike to the Hollywood sign in Griffith Park!

A pair of free nature walks in Griffith Park will be offered during the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday weekend by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. The excursions will take place Friday, November 27, and Saturday, November 28 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. each day. The intermediate level hike will be four to six miles and is designed for those who have some previous hiking experience.

Park Ranger Ernie Ybarra will lead the treks, which will start at the Griffith Park Visitor Center, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., adjacent to the Ranger Station. Those planning to participate should dress accordingly and bring drinking water and snacks.

The walks are part of the 2009 series of hikes of different skill levels to locations in Griffith Park, including Amir’s Garden (Saturday, November 21), Vista del Valle, Dante’s View, and Captain’s Roost. For more information about any of the hikes, contact Ranger Ernie Ybarra at (323) 644-6661, extension 1549, or by e-mail at

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694
Harvey Drut: (213) 202-2696

Opening ceremony for the year-round facility

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) in partnership with LAUSD opened the Fremont Pool on Friday, November 13, 2009. Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Councilwoman Jan Perry and RAP General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri were all in attendance for the first big splash.

The event celebrated the completion of much-needed improvements at the year-round pool located at Fremont High School. The project included the repair of plumbing lines, installation of a new roof, painting of the entire facility, electrical and HVAC upgrades and installation of spectator guardrail.

The Fremont High School Swimming, Diving and Water Polo teams were all on hand to test the water in the improved pool. Fremont pool is located at 7630 Towne Avenue in Los Angeles 90003 and offers a variety of aquatic programs for L.A. residents. Adult lap swimming, swim lessons, novice synchronized swimming, springboard diving team and CPR classes are all provided at the year-round pool. For a full listing of programs call the pool directly (213) 847-3401 or the Aquatics Division at (323) 906-7953.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dedication of Wilmington Vest Park in the Cruces Community

Wilmington - The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks proudly dedicated Wilmington Vest Park in the Cruces Community on Monday, October 26, 2009. Pacific Region Superintendent Mark Mariscal, Councilwoman Janice Hahn, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and local residents were all on hand to help cut the red ribbon and dedicate the new pocket park.

The Wilmington Vest project transformed a vacant and dilapidated .13 acre lot into a safe and friendly park for the Cruces community to enjoy. The new park's state-of-the-art playground features swings, slides, climbing structures and a rubber play surface. There are also new ADA-approved drinking fountains and benches at the neighborhood recreation area. Colorful murals surround the park, encouraging fun and unity.

Wilmington Vest Park is located at 1300 East O Street (at the intersection of Watson Street) in Wilmington 90744. For more information on this location or the Department, please call (213) 202-2700 or visit our website at

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Venice Beach - Venice Beach is known as a vibrant and eclectic Southern California beach that attracts millions of tourists yearly. But skaters know this special place as DOGTOWN, the birthplace of progressive skateboarding in the 1970's.

Saturday, October 3, 2009 was a historical day for Venice Beach skaters who have waited a long time for a place to call their own. At 11 am hundreds of skaters and spectators joined the Department of Recreation and Parks and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl in opening the VENICE BEACH SKATE PLAZA!!

Design input from local skating professionals helped make the Venice Beach Skate Plaza one of the most challenging arenas for skaters to ride. The 16,000-square-foot facility has four major components; a deep pool, street terrain course, snake run and flow bowl. The $3.4 million plaza's unique design combines both street and vert skating, allowing skateboarders to flow in and out of the two different styles.

With a maximum vertical differential of up to 9 feet, the deep pool allows for lots of speed in a single entry/exit run. The street terrain course simulates a streetscape environment with steps, rails, planters, curbs and driveways. For an old school skateboarding experience, skaters can carve from bank to bank through the snake run. The flow bowl provides maximum momentum for continuous multiple entries/exits in a single run.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri, Commission President Barry Sanders, City Engineer Gary Lee Moore and professional skateboarders Jesse Martinez, Jay Adams and Tony Alva were all on hand to help cut the red ribbon and officially open the Venice Beach Skate Plaza.

The new skate plaza is the 12th skate facility run by the Department of Recreation and Parks. Located near Windward Avenue and Ocean Front Walk, the skate plaza has an amazing view of the ocean and will provide a much-needed haven for local and visiting skateboarders.

Venice Beach has always been a hot spot for skaters from around the corner and world to test their skills. The new skate plaza will help continue that tradition!

For more information on this location, please call (213) 202-2700 or visit our website at

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694
Amy A. Garcia: (213) 202-2689

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Dedication of Solar Lights at North Hollywoood RC

North Hollywood - The Department of Recreation and Parks proudly dedicated the first-ever solar powered lights at North Hollywood Recreation Center on Tuesday, September 29, 2009. General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri, Councilmember Tom LaBonge (4th District), actor and environmental activist Ed Begley, Jr. and local residents were all on hand to help "flip the switch" on the new green improvement.

The project at North Hollywood included the installation of thirty-two solar light poles to illuminate the jogging paths. The total cost of $263,324 was funded by Quimby. The Department's Valley Region electrical crew installed the lights, cutting the cost of the project by about half.

The new solar-powered lights at North Hollywood RC store energy from the sun during the day and use this stored energy as a power source at night. By using solar power in the 32 lights the Department will save enough energy to light up nine average Southern California households per year. The energy saved is equivalent to planting 420 trees. The Department already has plans to install solar lighting at two other parks in the immediate future with three more locations on the drawing board.

North Hollywood RC is located at 11455 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood 91601. For more information on this project or the Department, please call (213) 202-2700.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

Friday, September 25, 2009

At Woodley Park in Van Nuys

Los Angeles - In celebration of Deaf Awareness Month, the 6th annual DEAFestival Los Angeles will be held Saturday, September 26, 2009 from noon to 5 pm at Woodley Park in Van Nuys.

The FREE event will include talent and fashion shows, activities for teens, art workshops, fire safety and women's defense demonstrations, information booths, FREE food (while supplies last) and more. There will be a special appearance by motorcross champion Ashley Fiolek.

The event is sponsored by the City's Department of Recreation and Parks, Department of Cultural Affairs and Department on Disability. Councilmembers Dennis P. Zine (3rd District), Tony Cardenas (6th District), Richard Alarcon (7th District), Bernard C. Parks (8th District), Greig Smith (12th District) and Jose Huizar (14th District).

Additional sponsors include California State Senator Alex Padilla (D-San Fernando Valley, 20th District), California State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar, 39th District), the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, the California State University Northridge National Center on Deafness, the California Association of the Deaf, the California Resource Center Sign Language Interpreter Service, Friends of the Family and the Family Focus Resource & Empowerment Center.

For more information on this event go to Woodley Park is located at 6350 Woodley Avenue in Van Nuys 91436. Volunteers are needed and signing is not mandatory; if interested call Bertha Velazquez at (213) 473-7006.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694
Harvey Drut: (213) 202-2696
World Water Monitoring Day at Cabrillo Aquarium and Ken Malloy Park

Los Angeles - Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro and Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park in Harbor City - two City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks facilities - will participate in the 8th annual World Water Monitoring Day on Saturday, September 26, 2009, from 10 am to noon.

Samples will be collected from the beach, a salt marsh, and lake and information will be given on how people can conserve and prevent pollution of this essential natural resource. No experience is necessary for this event that is open to anyone who wants to volunteer, although children age 14 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Hats and comfortable shoes for walking on sand or similar surfaces are recommended.

Coordinated by the Water Environment Federation and the International Water Association, the program is designed to build public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by encouraging communities to monitor the condition of local rivers, streams, estuaries and other water bodies between March 22 and December 31.

In addition to the Department of Recreation and Parks facilities, Huntington Beach, Compton Creek and Arroyo Seco in Pasedena will be involved. The results will be added to an international database at

Participating organizations include Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the Southern California Marine Institute, TreePeople, the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, Heal the Bay, El Nido Family Center, the Clean Water Team (part of the California State Water Control Board), Arroyo Seco Foundation, Santa Monica Baykeeper and DIVERS.

For more information on World Water Monitoring Day or to make group reservations at Cabrillo Aquarium call (310) 548-7562. Cabrillo Aquarium is located at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro 90731. To inquire about the activities at Ken Malloy Park call (310) 548-7728. Ken Malloy Park is located at 25820 Vermont Avenue, Harbor City 90710.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694
Harvey Drut: (213) 202-2696

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Events and activities for the weekend of September 18-20

Los Angeles – Are you looking for something to do this weekend? Check out the list below to find out what the Department of Recreation and Parks has going on this week.

Saturday, September 19:

Coastweeks: Coastal Clean-up at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (CMA). You can make a difference! Adopt Cabrillo Beach and the Point Fermin State Marine Park by joining a coastal clean-up from 9 am – 12 noon. Spend the morning with CMA and others who care to improve our environment. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is located at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive in San Pedro. For more information call (310) 548-7562.

Salt Marsh Open House: Help celebrate caring for the coast as you learn about the Salinas de San Pedro wetlands habitat at Cabrillo Beach by using binoculars and microscopes to observe live animals. Examine plant and animal specimens from the CMA collection. This event is FREE but registration is required, please call (310) 548-7562 for more information. Event starts at 12 noon and ends at 2 pm.

Walk Cabrillo: Pack a lunch and join a walk guided by CMA’s Education Staff. Start at the Aquarium courtyard, go to the tide pools, then to the beaches and salt marsh and end back at the Aquarium. Explore each habitat and discover signs of the current season and examine fossils, native plants and beach wrack! This event is from 2 pm – 4 pm and has a $3 charge. For more information call (310) 548-7562.

Community Yard Sale: Elysian Valley Recreation Center is hosting a Community Yard Sale from 9 am – 4 pm. Come and check out the merchandise! Remember one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!! For more information call the Recreation Center at (323) 666-5058.

Light @ the Lighthouse Concert: A FREE music concert and family festival at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro. There will be three stages for all ages, including over 30 different acts. Local churches, businesses and non-profit groups are putting on this day-long family celebration from 10 am – 6 pm. There will be a “Kids Kingdom Stage” that will feature puppet shows, dancers, crafts, storytelling, face painting, a climbing wall, inflatable obstacle course and more. For more information visit the event’s website at

Sunday, September 20:

Constitution Day Celebration: The Point Vicente Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) will host a celebration of the U.S. Constitution Day by ringing the Korean Friendship Bell at Angels Gate Park. The FREE event will be from 11 am – 3 pm. The United States Constitution was signed 222 years ago. Public law 915, signed by President Eisenhower designates September 17 through the 23 as Constitution Week. At 4:00 pm (Eastern Time) bells across America will ring to commemorate the signing of this important document. For more information on this event call (310) 548-5663.

Target Feria de la Familia: Target and the Plaza de la Raza Organization are hosting a family festival at Lincoln Park aka Plaza de la Raza from 12 noon - 6 pm. The FREE event will feature art activities (dough and tin art demonstrations, murals and face painting), youth art workshops (mask making, pinata making, recycled art, tin art and puppets) and youth performance workshops (aztec dance, folk dance and music exploration). There will also be entertainment throughout the day (salsa band, flamenco performance, mariachi and more). For more information on the Feria del la Familia call (323) 223-2475 or visit

Weekend Tidepool Walk: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s Education Staff will conduct a tour of the Point Fermin Marine Life Refuge from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. First attend an informative slide show in the auditorium then go along on the naturalist-led ramble on the rocks to see animals in their natural habitat. Outdoor clothing and sneakers are recommended. For more information on this FREE event call (310) 548-7562.

For more information on Department events or activities visit our website at or call (213) 202-2700.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dedication Ceremony at MacArthur Park

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks celebrated the completion of the MacArthur Park Improvement Project on Saturday, September 12, 2009. Councilmember Ed P. Reyes and hundreds of local community members were on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon and join in the festivities.

The MacArthur Park Improvement Project transformed a dusty and flat dirt field into a green meadow that features a 37,000-square-foot synthetic turf, play area, picnic tables and outdoor exercise equipment. New lighting, an irrigation system and landscaping were also part of the improvements.

The new synthetic multipurpose field will provide a much needed soccer space for local youth and adults. Over 10,000 youth participate in soccer leagues at the park yearly.

The $2.4 million project was built by Park West Landscape, Inc. Public Works' Bureau of Engineering designed and managed the project. Funding was provided by Propositions K (specified) and the Capital Improvement Expenditure Program.

Dedicated and opened in 1887, MacArthur Park is one of the oldest and most popular parks run by the Department. Located just west of the Downtown Los Angeles, MacArthur Park lies in one of the most densely-populated areas in the City. The 40-acre parkland provides recreational opportunities to hundreds of local residents and visitors daily.

MacArthur Park is located at 2230 West 6th Street 90057. For more information on this project of the Department, please visit our website at or call (213) 202-2700.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

Dedication of a Soccer Stadium at Boyle Heights Sports Center's

Los Angeles - Dozens of community members joined the Department of Recreation and Parks and Councilmember Huizar (14th District) in dedicating the a new synthetic soccer field at Boyle Heights Sports Center on Tuesday, September 8, 2009.

After a ceremonial ribbon cutting, attendees were invited onto the field where CHIVAS USA's power forward Gerson Mayen was showing of his foot skills and signing autographs. The new field will join a dozen other synthetic playing grounds run by the Department. With over 500 youth already signed up to play in soccer leagues at the Sports Center, the new field is sure to get plenty of use.

The $1.5 million project included the installation of a stadium sized soccer field and the refurbishment of the baseball/softball field. The project also included new permanent soccer goals, bleachers, remote controlled score boards at each field, lighting and landscaping.

The 103,910-square-foot soccer field boasts a synthetic surface which requires neither fertilizer nor water and is not only eco-friendly but also allows for more play with far less maintenance. The new field creates a significant increase in playing time, providing the community with more opportunities for recreational experiences.

The Architectural Division in the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) of the City's Department of Public Works designed the project, which the BOE's Recreational and Cultural Facilities Program managed. Park West Landscaping, Inc., of Pacoima served as the general contractor. Project funding came from Propositions K and 12.

Boyle Heights Sports Center is located at 933 South Mott Street, Los Angeles 90023. For more information on this location or the Department in general, please visit our website at or call (213) 202-2700.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

End of Summer Celebration at Jackie Tatum/Harvard RC

Los Angeles - Thousands of youth and families came together at Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center to say farewell to the Summer Night Lights (SNL) 2009 season on Saturday, September 5. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri, Commission President Barry A. Sanders and many other dignitaries were also on hand to celebrate the end of the summer program.

The End of Summer Celebration brought together youth from all 16 sites for a culminating event that emphasized friendship and healthy competition. Participating athletes took part in citywide basketball, soccer, skateboarding, handball and softball tournaments. Each winning team received trophies and shoes donated by VANS in collaboration with Soles4Souls, Inc.

Attendees were treated to FREE entertainment which included dance crew performances and live music. A moonbounce, climbing wall and classes/workshops in aviation, culinary arts, drama, mosaic art and hip-hop kept the fun going while The Hungry Hog kept bellies full by serving thousands of free meals.

This summer, SNL provided extended park hours at 15 City Recreation and Park facilities (plus one high school campus) in the City’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) zones. The gang reduction program offered expanded programming, after-school activities, athletic leagues, arts and family programs. This year, SNL ran from July 8 through Sept 5 and operated Wednesday though Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight. All sites served free BBQ dinner.

Congratulations to all the Tournament Winners for a job well done!
*Imperial Courts Rec Center: Junior Basketball Division Champions
*Jackie Tatum/Harvard Rec Center: Adult Basketball Division Champions
*Jackie Tatum/Harvard Rec Center: Adult Co-Ed Softball Champions
*Ross Snyder Rec Center: Soccer Champions (5-7 year olds)
*Hubert Humphrey Park: Soccer Champions (8-10 year olds)
*Ross Snyder Rec Center: Soccer Champions (11-12 year olds)
*Jim Gilliam Rec Center: Soccer Champions (18 & up)

The Department would like to thank everyone for another successful SNL summer! We thank you for your support and participation and we hope to see you next SUMMER!!

The celebration of Buzz Aldrin Day in Los Angeles

Los Angeles - At 6:00 pm on Thursday, August 27, 2009, Councilmember Tom LaBonge stood at the front of the Griffith Observatory and declared it to be "Buzz Aldrin Day in Los Angeles". The famous Astronaut, who was one of the first humans to land and walk on the moon, joined Councilmember LaBonge, General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri, Dr. E.C. Krupp (Observatory Director) and over 100 hundred Angelenos.

Dr. Aldrin spoke about some of his experiences from his famous Apollo 11 voyage, which is part of his new autobiography, Magnificent Desolation. Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon with Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969. The two astronauts spent 21 hours on the moon's surface and returned to Earth with 46 lbs of lunar rocks. Dr. Aldrin recounted his experiences in preparing for his trip to the moon, standing on the lunar surface and his bumpy return to Earth. After his speech, Dr. Aldrin greeted visitors and signed copies of his book.
Multiple telescopes were also set up along sidewalk of the Observatory's front lawn for free public viewing of the first quarter Moon. There are four major moon phases; new, first quarter, full and last/third quarter. The first quarter moon phase occurs a week after the new moon, when the Moon has completed about a quarter of its turn around the Earth. During this phase half of the illuminated part of the moon is visible.
For more information about this special event or the Department in general, please call (213) 202-2700 or visit our website at
Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

At Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center in South L.A.

Los Angeles - It's hard to believe that summer is already ending and it's even harder to believe that the Summer Night Lights program will be over too! But there will be one more chance to have some summer fun at the "End of Summer Celebration" at Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center on Saturday, September 5, 2009.

The culminating event will include basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, handball and skate tournaments, classes and/or workshops in aviation, culinary arts, drama, mosaic art, mechanics and hip-hop. There will also be FREE entertainment and food, a moon bounce, climbing wall and dance crew performances. The Jackie Tatum/Harvard Aquatic Facility will also be open, so don't forget your bathing suits!

The daylong event will begin at 10 am and is open to EVERYONE looking for a fun and safe way to spend the last Saturday of summer. Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center is located at 1535 West 62nd Street, Los Angeles 90047. For more information call (213) 202-2700.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2700
A festive birthday celebration at El Pueblo Plaza on September 5

Los Angeles - Can you believe Los Angeles is turning 228 years old? She looks pretty good for her age, doesn't she? She can't wait to celebrate her birthday and she wants everyone to join her in the festivities! The celebration starts at 6 am on Saturday, September 5, 2009 with Los Pobladores' "Walk to Los Angeles" and continues at El Pueblo Plaza.

The "Walk to Los Angeles" will follow in the footsteps of the original settlers whose walk 228 years ago led to the establishment of the City of Los Angeles. During the first week in September 1781, 44 people from 11 different families and four soldiers left Mission San Gabriel and proceeded nine miles to a river. There, on September 4, 1781, they established El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles (The town of the Queen of Angels). Over 200 years later, Los Angeles is the largest city in the state of California and the second largest in the United States.

The walk is approximately nine miles and should take about three hours. It begins at San Gabriel Mission and proceeds west along Mission Road to Alhambra Avenue, then to Valley Blvd to Cesar Chavez then over the bridge to Alameda. For those who cannot make the entire trip, there is an option to meet at Lincoln Park to walk the last three miles. Concluding the nine-mile trek from San Gabriel, walkers will be greeted with a warm L.A. welcome at Los Angeles' 228th birthday celebration at El Pueblo Plaza (Olvera Street).

The celebration at El Pueblo Plaza will include free entertainment which will feature traditional dancing, dramatic presentations, a pinata and birthday cake. There are also various restaurants, historic tours and shops to visit on Olvera Street.

For more information or to register for the "Walk to Los Angeles" please call (213) 485-8376. Registered walkers will receive a wrist band, t-shirt and a fact sheet. Remember the event is FREE and is open to everyone!

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694
Seven seasonal pools will remain open until September 13

Los Angeles - With Los Angeles temperatures expecting to remain above 80 degrees for the next two weeks, the Department of Recreation and Parks has some cool news. Thanks to financial support from Kaiser Permanente, seven of our seasonal pools will remain open for an extra six days beyond their traditional Labor Day closing.

Jackie Tatum/Harvard Aquatic Facility, Griffith Park Pool, Northridge, Ritchie Valens, Ross Snyder, Stoner and Sun Valley pools will all be available for use from September 8 through September 13. Hours will be from 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm September 8-11; and noon to 5 pm September 12-13. Four of the seven locations have fun waterslides for kids to enjoy (Jackie Tatum/Harvard, Northridge, Stoner and Sun Valley pools).

Children age 17 or younger, seniors 65 or older and the disabled can continue to swim for FREE. Adults with a Library Card can swim for $2; otherwise, the charge for patrons ages 18-64 is $2.50. Children age 6 or younger must be accompanied by an adult at all times. In addition, kids ages 3-6 must be potty-trained and those younger than 3 must wear a swim diaper.

To find a pool near you, please contact the Department's Aquatics Division at (323) 906-7953. Individual pool brochures can be viewed and downloaded at www.laparks/dos/aquatic/aquatic.htm.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dedication of new center and the Willie Corona Multi-Purpose Room

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks proudly dedicated the Evergreen Child Care Center on Monday, August 10, 2009. Department staff joined Councilmember Jose Huizar, Boyle Heights residents and family and friends of respected community member William Corona to celebrate the grand opening of the newly constructed $3.1 million center.

Features to the 4,150 square-foot Child Care Center include two classrooms, a technology room, snack room, ADA-compliant restrooms, staff offices and laundry room. The project also included the installation of a new children's play area, parking lot, site landscaping and fencing. The style and base colors of the building were intended to match those of the nearby recreation center and accentuated with vivid tones to invoke a colorful sense of play. The state-of-the-art facility boasts a Mayan-architectural design and plaster facade and incorporates the needs of the community, childcare requirements, the need for safety and security and addresses the priorities of center staff.

Evergreen Child Care Center is the Department's 26th state-licensed facility and provides safe and qualified programming for before and after school children. The year-round center offers a variety of programming that includes arts & crafts, drama, science projects and sports activities.

Along with the dedication of the facility, the Department also dedicated the center's multi-purpose room in honor of Mr. William "Willie" Corona. Mr. Corona was not only an important part of the Evergreen community, he was also a member of the Recreation and Parks family. Willie made Evergreen Park a better place through countless hours of selfless dedication. With a passion for sports, he was always a positive influence on children and coaches alike, teaching the meaning of sportsmanship and the importance of being a team player. Whenever he learned a child was unable to afford a uniform, athletic shoes or gloves, Corona was said to always open his wallet.

When he began the park's tennis program, he kept his community's financial hardships in mind and took it upon himself to buy all the necessary racquets, tennis balls and shoes. He even taught the classes free of charge. Willie also dedicated his time volunteering for the park's Child Care Center (then located inside the gym).

Corona's primary concern was that the children of Evergreen Park have a fun experience. From chalking fields to treating children to ice cream, sodas, hot dogs or even some kind words after practice or a game, Willie did whatever it took to make them happy. He was eventually hired by the Department as a part-time recreation assistant at Evergreen, always working his shifts, always staying late and always using his earnings on the children of Evergreen Park.

Indeed, it was Willie's love for Evergreen that kept him there, up until those last two months before he passed away in October of 1997. For many, he will always remain in their hearts a true hero of Evergreen Park, a man, who in the words of his family and friends, "always gave of himself and never asked for anything in return."

The Department and community have honored Willie Corona with a memorial plaque inside the multi-purpose room at Evergreen Child Care Center, which now stands in the same location as Willie's beloved tennis courts. Throughout his life, Willie never left Evergreen and now will continue to do so, as his name and legacy will remain in the park, set in stone.

Evergreen Child Care Center is located at 211 S. Evergreen Avenue, Los Angeles 90033. For more information on this location or the Department in general, please call (213) 202-2700 or visit our website at

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694