Funding for much-needed refurbishments at two of the City’s popular park sites just came down from the State thanks to our State Senator, Bob Archuleta, Assemblymember Lisa Calderon, and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia.
During the State budget development process, $17 million dollars was requested for Rio Hondo Park and the Smith Park Aquatic Center. The State budget was approved by the Governor this past June, and now the City will be receiving this much-needed funding.
The first $8.5 million will be used to refurbish the overused outdoor amenities of Rio Hondo Park. The soccer fields and softball fields at the park are trying to meet the demands of local residents and youth sports groups. As a result, the fields are plain worn out. Finally, the Park’s restrooms, built over 20 years ago, are in need of a major overhaul. The State funding will address these issues and more, making Rio Hondo Park a local neighborhood gem once again.
The second $8.5 million will be used toward the refurbishment of the Smith Park Aquatic Center. Completed in 1984 as a training facility for the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, it has since been a place for City and area residents to swim, take swim lessons, or participate in other aquatics programs. That all changed when the Center closed as part of the County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Plans to open the Center in 2021 per County Health guidelines went awry when key infrastructure started to fail, making the pool inoperable. Since then, the City has been seeking funding from various sources, including State legislation to help fund the Aquatic Center’s refurbishment, which includes the replacement of the boilers and pumps, repairs to the pool deck, and repairs to the actual pool. So far, the City has received an excess of $15 million in funding toward the pool. Bids for this project have already been awarded the project set to begin soon.
“Thanks to our State Senator Bob Archuleta, Assemblymember Lisa Calderon, and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, we now have the adequate funding to enhance a couple of our most used facilities,” said City Manager Steve Carmona. “We are grateful that the needs of our community were understood at the State level, and we are excited to get these projects off the ground and restore the community pride at both of these facilities.” A check presentation was held during the Summer Street Fest concert on August 5. Senator Bob Archuleta, Assemblymember Lisa Calderon, and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia were on hand to ceremoniously present the City with the $17 million check in front of the thousands in attendance that night. Project updates will be forthcoming in future editions of the Profile. For more information, call our Parks and Recreation Department at 562.801.4430.