Via the City of Santa Monica.

On Saturday, February 25, 2017, the City of Santa Monica will host Parks Day, Come Play! a community event celebrating:

  • The grand opening of Ishihara Park, a new 2.35-acre neighborhood park created to provide a buffer between the Exposition Light Rail Maintenance Facility and the adjoining neighborhood and named after World War II vet George Ishihara;
  • The dedication of Stewart Street Park to Gandara Park, another World War II hero and former Pico neighborhood resident;
  • The re-opening of the northeast portion of Reed Park; and
  • Completion of an innovative stormwater harvesting and reuse project at Los Amigos Park.

The fourfold celebration will kick-off with a grand opening ceremony at Ishihara Park at 10 a.m. with Mayor Ted Winterer and the Santa Monica City Council, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, the Ishihara family, landscape architect Mia Lehrer, and others. The program will be followed by opportunities to play, exercise, discover, and enjoy fun-filled activities and entertainment scheduled until 1 p.m. at all four locations.

“Parks are Santa Monica’s playground and a place where we exercise, gather with friends, and watch our kids’ happiest moments,” said Mayor Ted Winterer. “This is a day to celebrate with a new park opening and two park dedications in honor of Santa Monica heroes.”

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Mayor Winterer, City Manager Rick Cole, and Santa Monica Spoke will hold the second “Ride with the Mayor” group bike ride at 11:30 a.m.from Gandara Park to Los Amigos Park.

The public is encouraged to walk, bike, or ride the Big Blue Bus to the events to explore the unique features and amenities each park has to offer. The celebration is a collaborative effort that will bring together neighborhood associations, local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and community resources to provide valuable information on a broad spectrum of supportive services and programs available to the public.

Parks Day, Come Play! demonstrates Santa Monica’s commitment to enriching lives through recreation and cultural programming as well as maximizing the enjoyment of parks for all. The public is encouraged to enjoy this special celebration that will include light refreshments, entertainment, photo booths, and other fun-filled activities.

About the Parks

Ishihara Park: Ishihara Park was named for George Ishihara, a long-time resident of Santa Monica’s Pico Neighborhood and a World War II veteran. The park is reflective of the community’s desire for cultural and natural diversity, composed of eight unique room-like garden spaces featuring diverse aspects of the Southern California landscape. The park includes accessible play features and fitness equipment, community pavilions with picnic tables and barbecues, a walking loop, and Santa Monica’s first park-based learning garden. Ishihara Park was designed by the prominent landscape architecture firm Mia Lehrer + Associates and constructed by USS Cal Builders.

“It has been an honor to work with the Pico Neighborhood and the City of Santa Monica to provide a park that celebrates community encounters, supports habitat and – we hope – creates memories for generations to come,” said Lehrer.

Gandara Park: Parks Day will commemorate the official renaming and dedication of Stewart Street Park to Gandara Park to memorialize and honor Private Joe Gandara, a Santa Monica native who was fatally wounded by enemy fire in World War II at the age of 20. Although hailed a war hero, he was passed over for awards and medals at the time of his death due to his Hispanic heritage. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014 by President Obama.

Reed Park: On the north side of the city, the event will celebrate the recent renovation of the northeast portion of Reed Park. This park now features a walking path, accessible fitness equipment, an outdoor performance area, chess tables, and enhanced lighting.

Los Amigos Park: The completion of the highly-anticipated Los Amigos Park Stormwater Harvesting and Direct Use Demonstration Project will round out the park improvements spotlighted on this special day. The park is now home to an underground cistern the size of three school buses that captures stormwater and dry-weather discharges from a Los Angeles County storm drain along 5th Street. The innovative system captures urban runoff then reuses it to irrigate the park’s landscaping and to flush toilets in the park’s restrooms, which previously utilized potable water.

This event is free and open to all ages. To request a disability-related accommodation, please call 310.458.8310 at least one week prior to event. Bike racks are available at all four parks and a complimentary bike valet will be available at Ishihara Park. For more information, including a schedule of activities, visit santamonicaparks.org or the Facebook event page.