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Paramount to celebrate refurbished Dills Park

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On Saturday, the city of Paramount will celebrate the reopening of its expanded and refurbished Dills Park, a 12.5-acre ribbon of green along the Los Angeles River designed for urban downtime: picnics, soccer, mingling in the shade or simply relaxing and watching things grow.

‘There were times I thought this moment would never come — creating new open space in an urban setting is almost impossible these days,’ said Vince Torres, community services and recreation director. ‘This is a dream come true.’

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When the $9-million enhancement project launched in 2001, the area between Somerset and Rosecrans boulevards was a weedy, trash-strewn eyesore.

‘We took everything down to dirt, except for the trees,’ Torres recalled. ‘Then, over the years, we started creating something new and natural looking.’

Improvements include drought-resistant landscaping, physical fitness facilities, playgrounds, extended lighting, benches and tables made of recycled materials, access to the river and exhibits touting the rich history of the working-class, 52-year-old city 15 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Once labeled as among the worst places to live in the nation, Paramount scored the second-largest gain in property values in 2007.

The celebration will begin at noon Saturday at the park, 6500 San Juan St. For more information, contact Nadene Bristow at (310) 991-0230.

— Louis Sahagun


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