Thursday, June 30, 2011

92 ACRES, 360 VIEWS, A PREMIERE OPEN SPACE Dedication of Ascot Hills Park Phase II

East Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks, along with Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Councilmember Jose Huizar (14th District) and the El Sereno community, proudly dedicated Ascot Hills Park on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

The celebration included performances by the Wilson High School Marching Band and Drill Team. A traditional native blessing of the grounds was also performed by students and staff from Semillas Community School.

With its offical dedication and opening, Ascot Hills Park is one of the largest parks in the City of Los Angeles. The 92-acre parkland has an outdoor amphitheater/classroom, hiking trails with interpretive signage, ADA paths, full stream restoration, picnic areas, irrigation and native landscaping. The premiere parkland features a 360-view of downtown L.A., the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding mountains.

Ascot Hills Park provides the local community and visitors with a beautiful natural parkland in the middle of the City of Angels. Ascot is located at 4731 Multnomah Street in Los Angeles 90032.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Epstein, 213.202.2690

BLOG CONTACT: Amy A. Garcia, 818.243.6488


Summer Swim Season 2011 & Operation Splash Kick-Off

Los Angeles - Summer is here.......let the SWIMMING begin!!!! Throw on your swim suits and apply the sunscreen!! The first week of summer has brought warm temperatures and with that comes the start of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks' summer swim season and Operation Splash!!

Recreation and Parks celebrated the kick-off of the 2011 Summer Swim Season and Operation Splash at Downey Pool on Friday, June 24, 2011. Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Councilmember Ed P. Reyes (First District), Kaiser Permanente's Vice President of Public Affairs Diana Bonta, LA84 Foundation's Vice President of Grants and Programs Patrick Escobar and community members were all on hand to help cut the blue ribbon and make the first splash of the 2011 swim season.

The kick-off celebration marked the opening of the Department's seasonal pools (outdoor locations only opened during the summer months) and the beginning of Operation Splash and LA84 scholarships and sponsorships.

The Department of Recreation and Parks is partnering for the sixth straight year with Kaiser Permanente for Operation Splash. For the 2011 summer, the Department received a 265,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente Southern California that will fund free swim lessons for 6,000 low-income youth and adults at 35 pools across the City. The program will also support free junior lifeguard training for 780 low-income youth at 49 city pools and extend the summer swim season for one week at seven locations serving about 10,000 pool patrons.

Over the last 26 years, the LA84 Foundation has consistently assisted the City's efforts to provide Los Angeles youth with access to quality sports programs. For 2011 summer, 1,200 youth will benefit from a generous grant provided by LA84. An $85,000 grant from the Foundation will provide scholarships for free swim lessons and sponsorships for participation in a competitive sport team, such as swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming.

The Department's 35 seasonal pool locations officially opened on Saturday, June 25 and will remain open through the end of August. Seasonal pools offer morning and afternoon public swim sessions. Additionally, 16 year-round pools began their summer schedule and offer afternoon and evening swim sessions to the general public.

Sign-ups for Operation Splash and LA84 scholarships/sponsorships will began on Sunday, June 26 at participating locations and are provided on a first-come first-serve basis. A low-income verification form must be filled out by parents/guardians at the time of registration. For a full list of participating locations visit or call (323) 906-7953.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks' Aquatic Division offers a variety of water activities, including recreational swimming, water awareness, adaptive swimming, Team Sports, Junior Lifeguard program and water exercise. For the 13th consecutive year, children age 17 or younger, seniors 65 or older and the disabled can swim for FREE at all City pools. Children ages 3-6 must be potty-trained and accompanied by an adult at all times; children under the age of 3 must wear a swim diaper. The charge for adults ages 18-64 is $2.50; those with a City library card will pay $2.

For more information call the Department's Aquatic Division at (323) 906-7953 or e-mail

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Epstein, 213.202.2690

BLOG CONTACT: Amy A. Garcia, 818.243.6488



Kick-off Press Conference at Lafayette Multipurpose Community Center

Los Angeles - Summer Night Lights (SNL) will shine a little brighter this summer. The Department of Recreation and Parks will enter into its fourth year as a key partner for SNL on Wednesday, July 6, 2011. With an additional eight parks this summer, the crime and gang reduction program will expand to 32 sites. Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa announced SNL's expansion from 24 to 32 parks at a press conference on Friday, June 24, 2011 at Lafayette Multipurpose Center.

SNL is a community based innovative program to combat gang violence during the traditionally more violent summer months. The anti-gang initiative keeps City parks open after dark with organized activities such as athletic leagues, art initiatives and family programs, while also providing at-risk youth with job opportunities.

Since it's launch in 2008, Summer Night Lights has proven to reduce crime. Last summer, surrounding SNL area neighborhoods experienced a 40% reduction in gang-related crimes and a 57% reduction in gang-related homicides. In 2010, over 710,000 Los Angeles residents visited SNL site, a total of 382,523 meals were served and 1000 jobs were created because of the program.

SNL has three major components:

1) Extended Hours & Programming: between July and September, SNL sites extend their program hours from 7pm to midnight four nights a week (Wednesday - Saturday). Expanded programming includes community-centered recreational, educational and artistic programming to engage youth in positive activities during peak times for violence.

2) Youth Squad: 10 community youth groups are hired to create and staff the extended hours and programs (320 city-wide). Youth Squad members are at-risk, ages 17-20 and receive stipends for the duration of the program. Training is provided to the Youth Squad prior to the kick-off of the program and includes topics such as life skills, communication and community outreach.

3) Cease-Fire/Maintaining Peace: Community intervention workers are assigned to each SNL site to help keep the peace at the site, in the surrounding communities, to address potential conflicts and to assist in identifying resolutions to conflicts. Their participation contributes to maintaining a high level of safety and community participation at the SNL sites.

SNL has been recognized as a national model for violence reduction and community empowerment. The program has been presented at conferences and has inspired cities across the nation to launch their own successful summer anti-gang programs.

The 2011 participating recreation centers and parks are:

SNL Returning Sites

1) Cypress Park

2) Delano

3) Glassell Park

4) Highland Park

5) Hubert Humphrey

6) Imperial Courts

7) Jackie Tatum/Harvard Park

8) Jim Gilliam

9) Jordan Downs

10) Lemon Grove

11) Lou Costello

12) Martin Luther King

13) Mount Carmel

14) Nickerson Gardens

15) Normandale

16) Ramona Gardens

17) Ramon Garcia

18) Ross Snyder

19) Sepulveda

20) Slauson

21) South Park

22) Valley Plaza

23) Van Ness

SNL 2011 New Sites

1) Montecito Heights

2) Lafayette

3) Lanark

4) Sun Valley

5) Algin Sutton

6) Green Meadows

7) Toberman

8) El Sereno

9) Wilmington

SNL has expanded each year since it's launch and is supported by a combination of public and private funds. For more information or to find an SNL site close to you call the Department of Recreation and Parks general information line at 213.202.2700.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Epstein, 213.202.2690

BLOG CONTACT: Amy A. Garcia, 818.243.6488

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June & July hiking schedule

Griffith Park - Summer is officially here and with it comes warm weather that is perfect for hiking! Ranger Ernie will be leading 6 different hikes in June and July and 3 will be night hikes!

The first hike will be a nocturnal adventure on Friday, June 24 starting at 7pm at the Ranger Station (4730 Crystal Spring Drive, Los Angeles 90027). The evening hike will be a 2-hour trek through Griffith Park. Pack your water, snacks and, since it'll be night time escapade, remember to bring a jacket and flashlight. Two more evening hikes will be available on Friday, July 15 and Friday, July 29. Same time and same starting place (Ranger Station).

Day hikes will also be offered on 3 Saturdays; June 25, July 16 and July 30. These 2-hour excursions are ideal for beginner hikers but are open to everyone. The hiking voyages will begin at 8am at the Griffith Observatory parking lot (2800 E. Observatory Road, Los Angeles 90027) and will be a 2-hour trek through Griffith Park.

Those planning to participate should dress accordingly and bring drinking water and snacks. For more information about any of the hikes, contact Ranger Ernie Ybarra at (323) 644-6661 or by e-mail at


Unveiling of Shade Structure at Warner Ranch Park Playground

Woodland Hills - The Department of Recreation and Parks and Councilman Dennis P. Zine (3rd District) unveiled a new shade structure at the Warner Ranch Park playground on Thursday, May 26, 2011. The shade structure will provide children with needed protection from the sun on hot days.

With about a month before the beginning of summer, the unveiling of the shade structure comes just in time to beat the summer heat. The playground shade structure was designed and installed to protect children from the damaging UV Rays and extreme heat that can lead to skin cancer, burns and heat stroke. The new shade structure will keep the play surfaces and sand up to 20 degrees cooler and allows children to play in the park even on the hottest summer days when temperatures can reach well into the 100's. The design is a Multi Level/Multi Panel Super Span (50' x 60') with multiple layers of fabric to increase the shade coverage, as well as enhance the existing visual aesthetic of the playground. Quimby fees funded the $88,480 project.

Warner Ranch Park is located at 21820 Califa Street in Woodland Hills.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Epstein, 213.202.2690

BLOG CONTACT: Amy A. Garcia, 818.243.6488

Monday, June 06, 2011


Dedication of Rockwood-Colton Pocket Park

Los Angeles - Located in the heart of the Los Angeles Oil Field, Rockwood-Colton Park is a great example of a truly remarkable park transformation. The Department of Recreation and Parks and Council President Eric Garcetti (13th District) dedicated the new pocket park on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

The transformation of this formerly contaminated property into a half acre neighborhood park was not an easy task. Oil wells existed on the property from approximately 1906 through 1970. Environmental investigations were completed to make sure the land was safe. Once safety was determined, community meetings were held for input on the park's design.

Rockwood-Colton Park has a children's play area, picnic tables and park benches. The eco-friendly pocket park also boasts solar lighting and a smart irrigation system. Funding for the new park was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Program and voter-approved state park bonds.

Rockwood-Colton Park is located in historic Filipinotown at 1571 Rockwood Street, Los Angeles 90026.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Epstein, 213.202.2690

BLOG CONTACT: Amy A. Garcia, 818.243.6488


Dedication of Pecan's Dodgers Dreamfield

East Los Angeles - Recreation and Parks celebrated the opening of the tenth Dodgers Dreamfield in the City of Los Angeles on Saturday, May 14, 2011. Former Dodgers Bobby Castillo, Tommy Davis, Al Downing, Kenny Landreaux and Wes Parker, along with current Dodger pitcher Kenley Jansen, were all on hand to help celebrate the opening of the new field at Pecan Recreation Center in Boyle Heights.

Renovations to the new field included re-grading of the infield, new sod in the outfield, refurbished fencing and new dugout roofing, batting cage, outfield wind screen, LED scoreboard and signage.

The new Dodgers Dreamfield at Pecan is the third field the Department has dedicated in 2011. At the beginning of this year, the Dodgers Dream Foundation in partnership with the LA84 Foundation announced a new commitment to build Dreamfields at eight Recreation and Parks facilities. The five remaining locations that will receive Dreamfields are Pan Pacific RC, Ritchie Valens RC, Lemon Grove RC, Harbor City RC and Valley Plaza RC.

Pecan Recreation Center is located at 145 South Pecan Street in Los Angeles 90033.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Epstein, 213.202.2690

BLOG CONTACT: Amy A. Garcia, 818.243.6488



Dedication of Phase I of Elysian Park-Riverside Park

Elysian Park - The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, Council President Eric Garcetti (CD 13), members of the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park and community members celebrated the dedication of Phase I of Elysian Park-Riverside Park.

The new 5 acres of parkland combine natural features of the area with new lawn and graded areas. The park has two multipurpose game courts, passive recreation lawn areas, children's playground, picnic tables, trails with nature interpretive signs and an outdoor classroom. The Proposition K funded project also included a new parking lot, smart irrigation system, fencing and more. The park's design included the preservation of all existing native oak and walnut trees.

The creation of Elysian Park-Riverside Park was a community effort. The City purchased the 18 acres of undeveloped land in 1999 and the Citizen's Committee to Save Elysian Park played a huge role in the process. Phase II will provide the expansion of Phase I's hiking trails which will connect the new park to Elysian Park to the east and the Red Car Property parkland to the west.

Elysian Park-Riverside Park is located at 1800 Riverside Drive in Los Angeles 90012.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Epstein, 213.202.2690

BLOG CONTACT: Amy A. Garcia, 818.243.6488


Groundbreaking Ceremony for Skate Plaza @ Jackie Tatum/Harvard

South Los Angeles - Like every other place in the world, skateboarding has become extremely popular in South Los Angeles. And like so many places, skater's do not have a designated skate park and use an open area at a local park. Skaters and their parents have been asking for a skate park and the City of Los Angeles Department or Recreation and Parks are answering their need.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new skate plaza at Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Councilmember Bernard C. Parks (CD 8), representatives from the Bureau of Engineering and Recreation and Parks, and community members were there to celebrate the start of construction.

When complete, the 10,000-square-foot skate plaza will include grinding ledges, rails, staircases, ramps, a quarter pipe, planters and various transition elements. The new skate plaza will help create a safe haven for local and visiting skaters to practice their skills. The project also includes other outdoor park improvements including a new pathways, fencing, irrigation and security lighting.

Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center is located at 1535 West 62nd Street in Los Angeles 90047.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Epstein, 213.202.2690

BLOG CONTACT: Amy A. Garcia, 818.243.6488