PALMDALE — It may not seem like an important feature on a chilly January morning, but the shade structures soon to grace picnic areas in Yellen Park will be greatly appreciated in the coming months.
Local officials and community members, including the furry four-legged variety, came together Friday morning to celebrate the start of installation for a half-dozen shade structures at Palmdale’s newest park.
“This truly is a special day for me, for the residents of Palmdale and the residents of District Four,” Mayor Pro Tem Juan Carrillo said. “Today, we’re going to make that (park) experience much more pleasant by providing shady areas for them to enjoy their park experience.”
Carrillo represents District Four and has been a “relentless” supporter of the park at Avenue S and 52nd Street East, Mayor Steve Hofbauer said.
“Parks make life better. It’s really something we believe in and we make it work every day,” Hofbauer said. “It’s amazing how something so simple as a shade structure can make such a huge difference.”
The shade structures are funded through Los Angeles County Prop. A funds, voter-approved property taxes set aside for parks.
Carrillo thanked Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger for her help in securing the $128,000 grant funds used to pay for the 15-foot by 20-foot shade structures and installation.
“She found some money for us,” he said.
In 2001 the Yellen family donated approximately 25 acres to the city for construction of a park or public recreation facility named in memory of Samuel Yellen, who farmed the area from the 1930s until 1950 first pears, then alfalfa and vegetables. The family also donated 12 acres to the Palmdale School District, which built the adjacent Yellen School.
Yellen Park opened in June 2017, with an adventure playground, multipurpose turf field, exercise equipment and a much-requested and very popular off-leash dog park.
Rounding out the features in the park’s first phase are the six shade structures, four over picnic tables near the playground and two more covering tables by the dog park.
Installation of the solid metal structures begins Monday and all are expected to be in place by the end of January, Public Works Director Chuck Heffernan said.
“It’s going to make a huge difference in our community,” Councilman Austin Bishop said.
The shade structures are but one improvement to local parks funded through Prop. A, said Charles F. Bostwick, assistant field deputy for Barger.
“Prop. A has made a big difference in parks and recreational facilities in the AV,” he said, amounting to some $33 million over the past 25 years.
In Palmdale, projects have included acquiring land for the Barrel Springs trail, developing Pelona Vista and Domenic Massari parks and rehabbing the McAdam Park pool.
The property tax funds also are being used for refurbishment of the playgrounds at Manzanita, Domenic Massari and Marie Kerr parks to make them accessible to all park visitors. Those projects are expected to be completed before this summer, Palmdale officials said.
Elsewhere, facilities funded through Prop. A include the Lancaster Soccer Center, expansion of the Prime Desert Woodlands and rehabbing Lancaster’s Eastside Pool.
Additionally, the fund has been used to expand Vasquez Rocks and Devils Punchbowl county natural areas, build a park and gymnasium in Lake Los Angeles and gymnasium in Sun Village.
Most recently, Prop. A funds have been set aside to expand the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Bostwick said.
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