By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
“Where will we play? We need our park,” shouted children, teens, parents, grandparents and residents out front of Stanton City Hall. Zuniga Park, located on Date Street, north of city hall, was slated for closure as a result of the ongoing budget crisis, something that residents didn’t agree with.
If fact, the neighborhood around the park didn’t agree with it so much, that they went to talk to the city staff and got it reopened.
The crowd of around 50 men, women and many children lined the inside of city hall during Tuesday’s council meeting, asking that they all come to a volunteer-based agreement to keep the park open and possibly Hollenbeck Park, fenced in this week, as well.
“We just want a place for our kids to play, if they can’t play here [Zuniga] then they would have to play there [Stanton Park behind city hall] and there are lots of homeless there,” said Stephanie Mujica, before the meeting. “We are more than willing to put in the time and money to help out.”
Members of the community met with Carol Warren, mayor and city manager, Carol Jacobs, to set up an action committee that morning.
“I think we have found a plan that will work for the city and the community,” said Jacobs.
The city council members, who get paid on average $8,256 for their work for the city, over the last five years have given back 5 percent of that to the city.
The city will still provide water and make sure that playground equipment and area is safe, however, it will be up to the residents to ensure that there is no graffiti, the grass is mowed, the trash is taken out and that the area is supervised.
“This is your park now, take care of it,” said Al Ethans, council member. “Brian [Donahue, council member] and I were there to plant trees at the opening of that park, we’re very proud of it. We’re very happy that you’re here.”
Naomi Bill said that it was going to be hard work to keep everyone on the ball, but they were hoping to get a community sponsor to help out.
Hollenbeck Park, which is on Edison Power Company land at 8645 Cerrittos Ave. was fenced off this week.
City resident Victor Barrios said that he would contribute $500 of his own money to get a mower with a seat on it so that he could do the grass maintenance.
“I mow my own lawn, in a wheelchair or not, and I can spare a few hours a week to take care of the park. We and the kids, we need that park,” said Barrios, “ To see that park get fenced in, that shocked me.”
Robert Fremen, Jim Nelson and Marcos Diaz all got up to speak on behalf of finding a community solution for Hollenbeck Park.
A decision for the lease of the closed park was on the agenda for Tuesday, for whether or not to return the land to Edison.
However, the lease return has been shelved for at least a month until a solid plan can be built with community members and Edison on if the park can be maintained in part by the people.
Those interested in supporting these parks financially can contribute to the Stanton Community Foundation.
If you want to support a specific park, put its name on the memo line of your check.