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Work on Long-Awaited Park in Canyon Country to Start April 1

Times Staff Writer

After an 11-year wait, work is scheduled to begin April 1 on a $2-million public park in Canyon Country, a project hailed by Santa Clarita officials as one of the benefits of cityhood.

Canyon Country Park had been stalled by red tape and a lack of park funds for years while under Los Angeles County jurisdiction, said Councilwoman Jo Anne Darcy, also a field deputy to Supervisor Mike Antonovich. The county purchased the 20-acre site near Soledad Canyon Road and Sand Canyon Road in 1978, she said.

“The way they were going, they never would have built anything,” Councilman Howard P. (Buck) McKeon said.

McKeon spoke shortly before the council on Tuesday night awarded a $2-million contract to build the park to Valley Crest Landscape, a San Fernando firm.

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But Santa Clarita, which is 15 months old and has a smaller bureaucracy than the county, was able to push the project through rapidly, said Jeff Kolin, city director of parks and recreation. Completion of the park is scheduled by December, probably in time for the city’s second anniversary Dec. 15, he said.

The city also hired a private firm to design the park rather than use county planners, which would have delayed the project several months, Kolin said.

Most of the park will be built with grants and developer fees collected by the county since 1978, Kolin said. Other grants and fees collected by the city since incorporation in December, 1987, will complete the funding package.

Most Santa Clarita city parks are in Newhall and Valencia, so the new park on the city’s western border will be a welcome addition to Canyon Country, said Mayor Jan Heidt, who lives in Canyon Country. The park will include a ball field, recreational building and exercise trail.

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