Children in the southern section of Boyle Heights have a new playground to enjoy at the Monsignor Ramón García Recreation Center.
The yellow and red playground with blue shade toppers was unveiled earlier this month. It meets Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility standards and was made possible by a $500,000 donation from the Werner Family Foundation.
“Playgrounds provide safe areas for children to have fun and engage in social interaction while learning balance, coordination and dexterity,” said Carolyn Ramsay, Executive Director of LA Parks Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks support for the city’s recreation areas. “It is crucial that community parks and playgrounds be as accessible and inclusive as possible.”
Wedged between the Golden State and Pomona Freeways near the corner of S. Fresno and Atlantic streets, the 7.25 acre park is one of the few green spaces available to residents in that part of Boyle Heights.
Described by the LA Parks Foundation as “a hub of social activity and a prime location in the Boyle Heights area,” the recreation center was originally built in 1934 and has a baseball diamond, a tennis court, athletic fields, a basketball court and two buildings where various programs for youth are available.
The playground had been in disrepair for years and had been identified by community members as a much-needed park improvement project. Last May, city officials held a groundbreaking ceremony at the playground, to mark the beginning of its reconstruction.
Park staff and community members were consulted on the new playground’s bright and colorful design. It includes two structures meant to encourage play along with sports and fitness for their respective age groups. One arrangement is oriented towards children 2-5 years old, using mostly sensory play elements. The other, geared towards those 5-12 years old, includes shade, balance beams and swings.
Funding for the project also provided additional seating and hydration stations in the park.
Several board members of the LA Parks Foundation and a representative from the Werner Family Foundation attended the April 5 unveiling ceremony.
Established in 2008, the LA Parks Foundation was created to foster public-private partnerships to support the City Department of Recreation and Parks. Since its founding, the organization has helped raise $45 million to support parks throughout the city.