This Saturday, February 25, Santa Monicans will celebrate the opening of a new park, the renaming of another, and they will have a chance to take a bike ride with Mayor Ted Winterer.
Saturday’s festivities will kick off with dedication of Santa Monica’s newest public open space, Ishihara Park, at which Mayor Winterer and Assemblymember Richard Bloom will speak.
The park, named for World War II veteran George Ishihara who lived in the Pico Neighborhood until his death in 2009, runs east along the south side of the Expo maintenance facility at Stewart Street and Exposition Boulevard.
Following the opening of Ishihara Park, across the street, Stewart Park will be rechristened Gandara Park, named for Private Joe Gandara, another local veteran of World War II who died in combat in France in 1944 at the age of 20. Gandara recently received a posthumous Medal of Honor from former President Barack Obama as part of a ceremony at which some two dozen soldiers who had previously been passed over for the honor because they were Jewish, Latino, or African-American, were posthumously recognized for their sacrifice.
Following the events, 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 the newly-dedicated Gandara Park to Los Amigos Park.
Santa Monica Spoke will be packing snacks for a celebratory picnic at Los Amigos Park, the new site of the city’s innovative stormwater harvesting and reuse project.
“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,” according to city officials. “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.”
Saturday’s festivities will also celebrate the reopening of Reed Park after several months of renovation.
“This park now features a walking path, accessible fitness equipment, an outdoor performance area, chess tables, and enhanced lighting,” officials said.