Lead Story West Edition

Renovated park facilities reopen in time for summer

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Summer hasn’t even officially started, but things already are looking up at two local parks with the re-opening of Vermont Square Park and Central Park Pool last week.

Hundreds of enthusiastic parents and smiling children joined Councilman Curren D. Price Jr. on June 9 and 10 to welcome the latest upgrades to both parks.

Since taking office in 2013, Price has committed more than $36 million in improvements and upgrades across 16 of the 9th Council District’s local parks with many future projects also in the pipeline.

“Now that school is out, I want to do everything I can to keep our youngsters occupied, having fun and out of trouble,” Price said. “I will continue to do everything possible to ensure that our district has access to ample green and recreational space that inspires a healthy and more physically active lifestyle.

“This is a high priority for me as one-third of the population in the 9th District is under 18 years old. Our community deserves safe, clean, quality recreational space,” he added.

Hundreds of community members showed up at Vermont Square Park June 9 to check out the improvements, which include the installation of new playground equipment, barbeque pits, benches, trash receptacles, drinking fountains, new fitness equipment and a refurbished basketball court.

The newly renovated park serves an estimated 11,031 residents within a one-half mile walking distance. The open green space is situated directly across the street from Vermont Square Public Library.

South Los Angeles children enjoy the renovated Central Park Pool that reopened June 10 after being closed for 12 years. The pool offers recreational swimming, swim lessons and a junior lifeguard program. (Photo by Sheri Mandel/City of Los Angeles)
South Los Angeles children enjoy the renovated Central Park Pool that reopened June 10 after being closed for 12 years. The pool offers recreational swimming, swim lessons and a junior lifeguard program. (Photo by Sheri Mandel/City of Los Angeles)

The next day, residents took a dip in the newly renovated neighborhood pool at Central Park, which had been closed for 12 years. The Central Recreation Center Pool — at 1357 E. 22nd St. between Washington and Adams boulevards — was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and closed its doors in 2004.

Two years ago, the Central Park Pool began a multi-million dollar renovation to the 6,300-square-foot pool that now includes a children’s splash area.

To commemorate the festive occasion, nearly 100 residents attended an end-of-school-year pool party at Central Park, which was organized by Price’s office.

With the re-opening of Central Pool, the approximately 11,474 residents the facility serves now have a beautiful neighborhood pool for youth and adults to enjoy swimming classes, as well as water play and recreational swimming.

“After being closed for 12 years, it was incredible to see all of the youth in this South Los Angeles community swimming and enjoying Central Pool,” said Michael A. Shull, general manager of the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks. “The Department of Recreation and Parks hopes that youth and adults in the area will take advantage of all of the great programming that will be offered this summer including free youth and adult swim lessons, a junior lifeguard program, and free recreational swimming for all youth.”

The pool is open all summer long and kids get in for free. Adults can join for $3.50, and seniors only have to pay $1. In addition, Kaiser Permanente’s Operation Splash is offering free swim lessons for children and adults, and the LA84 Foundation is funding youth summer aquatics programs, including synchronized swimming, all summer long.