Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Parks: The Good, the Bad and the Shady - Part I



There's no shortage of parks in our area, although most do not provide merely enough shade for our hot climate. As the mother of a boy, I've had go to parks more frequently and stay at them much longer than I ever imagined. Going to a park often entails squinting from the glaring sun and grumbling to myself, and anyone who will listen, about why the play equipment isn't shaded by trees.

There's a unique park in Los Angeles called Aidan's Place which is designed for handicapped elementary school children, which makes it perfect for your average toddler. Frankly, parks should all be constructed so that children can not hurt themselves, and so that those with handicaps can use them as well. Aidan's Place has roofing over most of the equipment, as well as a tarp-shaded sand box. If you are ever in the Westwood area, it's worth taking your kid there, plus it has a nice little story behind it's creation. http://www.shanesinspiration.org/overview/aidians-place.asp

Pomona boasts 25 parks. For a listing of all Pomona parks with pictures, click here and go to the bottom of the page: http://pomona.vpi.net/city_departments/community_services/
I've only been to 3 of them. As I explore more of them, I'll update this listing. Too bad we're not talking restaurants.

1. Lincoln Park. This park is nice and safe. The setting is gorgeous, a circular park surrounded by stately old homes and lit with old fashioned fixtures. We don't go there as much as we used to, since they put in those mysterious wood chips. But then again, I don't take my child into the hardware section at Home Depot either, as the dust can't be good for developing lungs. I've been reassured by the City that the wood chips are not chemically treated (as most outdoor wood products are, specifically with arsenic). They still make me sneeze, and a couple of children broke out in a strange rash just after they were put in. Over time, the wood chips have picked up lots of trash, which doesn't get cleaned out since it's so hard to tell the trash apart from the wood chips. The wood chips also make it hard to see any glass or sharp objects, both of which I have found around the children's play equipment in the past. Parents need to be aware that hypodermic needles are left behind there from time to time. My friend (from Claremont no less!) found one only a month ago, so it's still a problem. If you find anything like this, be sure to report it to the police, as it serves to increase their patrol of the park. In general, I don't subscribe to the idea of a police state, but the druggies are going to do their thing where it is convenient, so if we make their life more difficult, they will move on.....to another park in Pomona probably. Lincoln Park is a safe park. I meet mothers from all over Pomona, who come to Lincoln Park because it is so safe. Often there's one or two transients sleeping on the grass, mostly because of the bathrooms and running water that are readily available at the park. Lincoln Park has a large oak tree to the west of the main play equipment, which casts shade on the west side of equipment in the morning to early afternoon. There's no shade tree on the south side, however, making mid day pretty brutal on hot days.

2. Jaycee Park is located on San Antonio at the 10 freeway. When I say at the freeway, I mean AT the freeway. It's a stone's throw to the south of the 10 freeway. In addition to the carbon monoxide exposure your kid will get, it's only got one shade tree, to the southwest of the equipment. That said, it's got brand new equipment, which is pretty fun. This park is host to a number of Mommy and Me classes this summer, including the bilingual ones we plan to attend, so I won't need to worry about Mr. Big not getting enough carbon monoxide or vitamin D exposure in the coming months.

3. Civic Center Park is located just outside the library and city hall. Over time, I've come to the realization that this is a park in name only. Let's see, we've been asked to leave the park so a City worker could weed wack between the cement tiles; I accidentally stepped on a sharp grouting tool a City park worker had left behind another day; my son and his friends were asked by security (AKA "flower patrol") to get out of the garlic flowers, which contain a favorite pathway for the kids; and, another time we happened upon the City spraying herbicides just as we were leaving the library after the City-sponsored storytime. All this, while the homeless people slept undisturbed on the nearby grass. The only people who think this is a park are the children.

In nearby San Dimas is a huge county park: Frank G. Bonneli Regional Park. It's located just above the Fairplex, so it's practically in Pomona. Bonelli has I think 5 different sets of play equipment, which contain different features than you usually see on play equipment like giant (fake) ice cubes and a clothesline-like glider. There's no charge to get in during the cooler months, but that changes come summer to I think an $8 entrance fee (boo hiss). I have never been on the weekends and don't know how crowded it gets. On the weekdays, you pretty much have the lay of the land (and those 5 different sets of play equipment, which are spaced about 200 feet apart). Bonelli's equestrian center has horse back riding and lessons at: http://bonelliparkhorses.com/index.html Then there's Lake Puddingstone for swimming or fishing. If you're interested in the origin of the name Puddingstone, read this: http://www.sandimasnews.com/history/14.html

Due to formatting issues, I've had to split this post up into three parts. You can post about your own experience with Pomona parks in the comments section of this post.

1 comment:

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