ANAHEIM, Calif. (Dec. 8, 2015) - City leaders and community members took shovels to dirt Tuesday in a ceremonial groundbreaking for a skate park that begins a $15 million, multiyear renovation and expansion of Ponderosa Park.
Mayor Tom Tait, Anaheim City Council members and Community Services representatives joined neighborhood parents and school children to mark the start of the park's transformation.
Between now and 2018, work will play out on a urban-style skate park, a community center with family services, basketball gymnasium, dance studio and classrooms, and, finally, a park with exercise stations, water play area and outdoor plaza for cultural performances.
"These additions would be great in any neighborhood," Mayor Tait said. "But it is especially gratifying knowing the impact these amenities will have on the parents, grandparents and kids of this community."
Home to densely packed apartments and low-income residents, the area around Ponderosa Park is a priority neighborhood for the city of Anaheim. The city has worked with the community for the past few years to build and plan improvements that have a direct impact on the quality of life of residents.
In 2010, Ponderosa Elementary School and library opened alongside the park, bringing a high-caliber educational facility for neighborhood children. Three years later, the Ponderosa Joint-Use Library expanded hours to serve the community as well.
In 2012, the 1,500-square-foot Ponderosa Community Garden opened alongside the school and library to bring people together, encourage healthy lifestyles and provide a place to the community to gather.
In the next few years, Ponderosa Park will be transformed further.
The 10,000-square-foot skate park is set to open in 2016 and provide a place for older kids to skate in a setting that replicates street and city features.
A 12,287-square-foot community center is set to start construction in 2016 and finish in 2017. The center will offer family services including counseling, health insurance application help, Cal Fresh food stamp application assistance, utility payment assistance and English as a second language classes.
2017 is set to see the building of an outdoor park with a playground, picnic areas, water play area, outdoor plaza, restrooms and fitness stations, along with demolition of the park's existing family resource center building, which has been outgrown.
"We are staging construction so the neighborhood is never without a park," said Terry Lowe, Anaheim's Community Services director. "This is their backyard."
The project is being funded by fees paid by developers of apartments and condominiums in the nearby Platinum Triangle around Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
Ponderosa Park opened in 1965.