Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Dedication of South Park's Outdoor Fitness Zone

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks in partnership with Councilwoman Jan Perry, Kaiser Permanente, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) dedicated an Outdoor Fitness Zone at South Park on Thursday, January 14, 2010.
General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri, Councilwoman Jan Perry, Kaiser Permanente's Diana Bonta, CRA/LA Commissioner Alejandro Ortiz and TPL California State Director Sam Hodder were all on hand to help cut the red ribbon and officially open the Fitness Zone to local exercisers. Two legendary Dodgers, Bobby "Babo" Castillo and Kenny "KT" Landreaux made a special appearance to sign autographs and emphasize the importance of exercise at the Dedication Ceremony.

South Park's new Fitness Zone is the first of six Fitness Zones to open in the South Los Angeles area. The five other locations are 48th Street Park, Slauson Recreation Center, Gilbert Lindsay Recreation Center, Fred Roberts Recreation Center and Trinity Recreation Center.

According to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, 37.8 percent of adults are obese in the community surrounding South Park. The Fitness Zone will provide much-needed free physical activity opportunities for the entire neighborhood.

The new Fitness Zone is an easy-to-use outdoor gym designed to improve general health through weight loss, cardiovascular endurance, increased flexibility and strength building. The exercise equipment is designed to be durable, vandal resistant and used in various configurations. The Fitness Zone is free and can be used by teenagers and adults of all fitness levels.

The outdoor exercise area has eight pieces of equipment: a cross-country ski machine, an upper body workout station, horizontal bars, leg press machine, lat pull-down machine, seated arm machine, incline crunch bench and lying leg curl machine. All of the machines have American’s with Disability Act compliant surfacing and bilingual instructions decals.

Studies have shown that providing free and easy to use exercise equipment dramatically increases the opportunity to engage in physical activity. The Department of Recreation and Parks is proud to be a partner in providing healthy opportunities and living choices.

South Park is located at 345 East 51st Street in Los Angeles 90011. For more information on this location or the Department please call (213) 202-2700 or visit our website at http://www.laparks.org/.

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

Monday, February 01, 2010

Renaming of West Valley Park in honor of Officer Randal D. Simmons

Reseda - It has been almost two years since LAPD SWAT Officer Randal D. Simmons died in the line of duty but his heroism and dedication are still making undying influences. On Thursday, January 28, 2010 the Department of Recreation and Parks, in partnership with Councilmember Dennis P. Zine, brought together Officer Simmons' family, friends and colleagues for a special ceremony to remember the fallen hero.

West Valley Park was renamed as LAPD SWAT Officer Randal D. Simmons Park and will serve as a tribute to his personal sacrifice and his community advocacy. A 27-year LAPD veteran, Officer Simmons was shot during a standoff on February 7, 2008 in Winnetka (about a mile away from the community park). He was the first SWAT officer to die in the unit's 40-year history.

Officer Simmons has been described by his colleagues as loyal, selfless, focused, compassionate, brave and inspirational. He committed much of his time to helping and comforting people in urban neighborhoods including Watts, Hacienda Heights, Compton and Carson. He was an ordained minister at Glory Christian Fellowship International. Simmons was instrumental in developing programs and Christian events for at-risk youth such as the annual "Greatest Toy Giveaway" which provided toys and gifts to over 1,000 needy children during the holiday season.

The ceremony included the unveiling of the new park sign and remarks from General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri, former LAPD officer Councilmember Zine, Assistant Chief Micheal Moore, Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese and Captain John Incontro. Officer Simmons' wife Lisa also spoke thanking the City for the honor and added, "I know Randy is looking down and smiling and couldn't be happier because this is a park where children will come and play, families will gather and people will jog. They'll see his name and know he was a great man."

LAPD SWAT Officer Randal D. Simmons Park is located at 6731 Wilbur Avenue in the Reseda community. The 8.38 acre park includes a children's play area, walking paths and picnic tables.
Although he is no longer with us and will be missed, his charitable and giving legacy will live on forever. Officer Simmons is survived by his wife Lisa, son Matthew and daughter Garbrielle.

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