Thursday, March 26, 2009

Andres & Maria Cardenas Recreation Center
Dedication Ceremony & Grand Opening

Panorama City - The Department of Recreation and Parks proudly dedicated the Andres and Maria Cardenas Recreation Center on March 9, 2009. Councilmember Tony Cardenas, General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri, City Engineer Gary Lee Moore and community members were all in attendance for the special dedication. The ceremony included performances by the Panorama High School Band and Cheer Squad.

The 2,580-square-foot building features two multipurpose rooms, office space, a kitchen and storage areas. The $2.7 million project also includes a children's play area, public restroom facility, parking, landscaping and a family picnic area. Local residents now have over 30,000-square-feet of parkland to enjoy.

Immaculate Heart Community, a non-profit organization, and Casa Esperanza, a community- based organization, requested to re-name Blythe Street Park to the Andres and Maria Cardenas Recreation Center. The idea was supported by community members who agreed that the Cardenas' family story is representative of the neighborhood and its values of hard work and commitment.

Andres and Maria Cardenas came to California over 50 years ago from Mexico. Andres worked in the fields and as a laborer. Through hard work and perseverance he later established his own business. They proudly raised eleven children in a modest home in Pacoima, California and continously supported and encouraged them to succeed. Their children went on to earn degrees in fields, such as education, psychology and engineering.

Believing that no student should ever be denied the opportunity to pursue their dreams, the Andres y Maria Cardenas Family Foundation was established in 1997. The Foundation has embarked on an aggressive crusade to raise scholarship funds for needy and deserving students from the San Fernando Valley. In 1998 and 1999 the Foundation awarded over $25,000 in scholarships.

The Andres and Maria Cardenas Recreation Center was designed by the Architectural Division of the Bureau of Engineering in the City's Department of Public Works. Project funding came from Propositions K, 12 and 40. The facility was built by Tobo Construction, Inc., of Los Angeles.

The new center offers a variety of programs, including Pre-School, After School Care, Summer Camps and classes (e.g. karate, soccer, piano). It is located at 14740 Blythe Street, Panorama City 91402. For more information about the Department of Recreation and Parks please visit our website at

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

Groundbreaking Ceremony for a famous landmark

Los Angeles - For over five years, the Hollenbeck Bridge has been closed to the public due to much needed repairs—but times are a changing. The famous bridge, which has been around since the 1890's, will be making a come back very soon!

The Department of Recreation and Parks held an official Groundbreaking Ceremony on February 26, 2009 for the bridge that sits over Hollenbeck Lake. Designed to resemble a famous turn on China’s Yangtze River, Hollenbeck Bridge was often used in the silent comedy films in the 1920's.

The ceremony marked the start of the removal and replacement of timber decks, stringers and railings so that the bridge conforms to new standards of structural integrity and satisfies safety concerns. The bridge should be restored to its former glory in the next several months.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

Rededication Ceremony for the year-round facility

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks rededicated the revamped Roosevelt Pool on February 26, 2009. Aquatics Facility Manager II Carlos Espinoza presided over the affair and Councilman José Huizar reminisced about his days at the pool as a boy and its $.25 entrance fee. General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri and City Engineer Gary Lee Moore were also in attendance to celebrate the pool's improvements.

The outdoor pool received nearly $2 million in upgrades. Improvements to the year-round facility included a new pool deck, bathhouse showers and changing rooms. The project was funded by Proposition 40. The Bureau of Engineering designed the upgrades and the Department of General Services served as the general contractor.

Roosevelt Pool is located at 456 S. Mathews Street, Los Angeles 90033. The 65,000-square-foot facility provides men and women's water polo, swim lessons and synchronized swimming. For more information please call the pool directly at (213) 485-7391.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

At Lafayette Park in Los Angeles

Los Angeles - Local skaters had been waiting a long time for the new Safe Spot Skate Spot to open at Lafayette Park. The Dedication Ceremony was not until 3:30 pm but kids were lined up along the fence as early as 9 am, hoping to get a glimpse of professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek. Their faces and skateboards pressed up against the cold iron, they waited, anticipating the new tricks they could perform on the new smooth surface.

The Department of Recreation and Parks in partnership with Rob Dyrdek, The Rob Dyrdek/DC Shoes Skate Plaza Foundation and CKE Restaurants, Inc. proudly dedicated Lafayette Park's Safe Spot Skate Spot on Tuesday, February 24, 2009. The new skate spot is a project of The Safe Spot Skate Spot program created by The Rob Dyrdek/DC Shoes Skate Plaza Foundation. The program supports legal and safe skate spots for communities interested in developing skateable terrain for skateboarders. Lafayette's plaza is the first Safe Spot Skate Spot in the WORLD.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, City Councilmember Herb J. Wesson, Jr., General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri and Commission President Barry A. Sanders were all in attendance for the Dedication Ceremony. Mayor Villaraigosa and Councilmember Wesson got a quick lesson from Rob and rode to the stage on the largest skateboard ever made.

After the ribbon was cut, over a 1,000 kids rushed in to test out the 9,000-square-foot skate spot. Hitting the ledges, benches, rails and stairs; the young skaters christened their new skate haven. Among the skaters were DC riders Rob Dyrdek, Josh Kalis, PJ Ladd, Ryan Smith, Lindsey Robertson, Greg Myers, Wes Kremer and Marquise Henry. Jose, a local skater, said it was the best day of his life, "I never thought I would see Rob in my neighborhood and be able to skate with him and the DC team. Today is BIG!"

Lafayette's Safe Spot Skate Spot was developed in partnership with The Rob Dyrdek/DC Foundation, Newline Skate Parks. CKE Restaurants, Inc., parent company to Carl's Jr., provided a generous donation that funded the construction of the new skate spot. The Carl's Jr. Star Diner was on site to feed all visitors with six-dollar burgers, french fries and drinks. The Golden Star even skated the new skate spot, showing off his ollie skills.

The new Safe Spot Skate Spot is located at 625 South Lafayette Park Place, Los Angeles CA 90057 (near the intersection of Commonwealth and Wilshire). No fees or safety regulations (like helmets or pads) are enforced, just free safe space to safely skate. Make sure to keep watching Rob Dyrdek's new show Fantasy Factory on MTV, Lafayette's Safe Spot Skate Spot Dedication Ceremony/Opening will be featured on the show in April.

The Department of Recreation and Parks is grateful to all involved for this generous donation! For more information about the Department please visit our website at

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