It's open season for parks

GLENDALE — After years of planning and anticipation, several upgraded park facilities are set to open in coming weeks — just in time for summer.

Residents already have access to a new and improved Maple Park, which received $3.5 million in renovations including new landscaping and an overhaul to the community building. The new building includes a modernized second-floor gym and a nearly 5,400-square-foot addition to make way for larger rooms and a computer lab.

Also in south Glendale — where city officials have long bemoaned the lack of available green space — the long-awaited $5.3-million public Pacific Park pool is on schedule to open June 4.

And near the city’s northwest border, a revamped version of Griffith Manor Park is set to open June 25 after being closed to the public for more than two years during the upgrades and other construction in the city’s San Fernando Road corridor.

“It’s really a park renaissance,” said Dave Ahern, capital projects administrator for the Community Services & Parks Department.

A seismic retrofit of the historic Le Mesnager stone barn at Deukmejian Wilderness Park is also nearly completed, although it won’t be open to the public until city officials secure additional grant funds to complete the transformation into an interpretive center.

With construction bids down significantly during the protracted recession, the projects have cost less than originally anticipated, saving the city an average 20%, Ahern said.

“It’s a great time to be building parks,” he said. “We are getting great value for our dollar.”

The Pacific Park pool was initially delayed by a variety of design iterations, but crews worked extended hours to meet its scheduled June opening.

After years of relying solely on pools at local high schools, parks officials will host a range of recreational programming at the new facility, including open swim classes.

And at Griffith Manor Park, visitors will have access to a 2,400-square-foot community building, new restrooms, lights, irrigation systems, a lighted basketball court, benches and picnic pavilions.

The community building is designed to look like an old-fashioned airport hangar reflective of the area during the 1920s when it hosted the Glendale Grand Central Airport.

Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commissioner Dottie Sharkey said the new facilities would be a welcome addition for residents.

“It’s all exciting,” she said. “The kids in Glendale are going to have a great summer.”

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