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