Piece of Mind: Let's make some shade at 'the hot park'

From the youngest tots to the most senior of our citizens, the community again came together for the Memorial Weekend Fiesta Days. There were, after all, a host of activities to keep us engaged, largely courtesy of the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce.

The Community Center, Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA, Kiwanis-AM Club and Lanterman House also hosted activities that nicely complemented the chamber's offerings, as we've come to count on them to do.

People have a habit of saying that this is such an ingrained tradition that the long-weekend event practically runs itself, but I'm quite sure that plenty of hours go into its planning and execution.

Thanks to all who spent time making Friday night through Monday afternoon memorable for so many.

Sharing the load with me, toting our picnic supplies out of Memorial Park following Sunday night's fireworks show, was society maven Jane Neely. As we headed toward the car, we were musing about how that patch of green has become such a well-used gathering place over the past several years.

What we both remember as a bleak, empty lot when the 210 Freeway was built, forcing the relocation of La Cañada Elementary School in order to create a freeway tunnel, has grown into an attractive park that is used by groups large and small. Whether it's a family celebration or just time to throw a Frisbee, that park has become quite an asset to the community.

That's not to say there isn't room for improvement. I'd like to see more shade trees there, although I understand that it's not easy for them to root deeply when there's a concrete tunnel underneath.

Therefore, I think an idea presented to us this week by La Cañada mom Jessica Cushman is a terrific one: The city could install a sunshade over the play structures in the park.

Cushman is a member of a local mother's group that has sold baked goods to raise funds to donate to City Hall for their proposed sunshade. They've also circulated petitions in hopes of furthering their cause.

Cushman told me Wednesday that she and other moms will not use what they call “the hot park” between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on sunny days, with which we are amply blessed.

She and her circle of friends have learned from the city that the type of sunshade they are envisioning could cost $30,000 to $40,000. The shades are costly because they have to meet safety standards to be suitable for public use.

The mothers recognize that the $1,250 they've raised to date falls far short of the required funds, but are hopeful that if enough residents show interest in installing the shade, the city will help to pay for this improvement the park.

“It's really high time that our central park become more useful, shaded and safe — not to mention more beautiful,” Cushman said.

If you'd like to show your support for a sunshade, email Carl Alameda, a senior management analyst for the city who also serves as the parks and recreation commission's staffer.

Alameda can be reached at calameda@lcf.ca.gov. You are also invited to email Cushman at thecushmancompany@mac.com.

On a final note today, I wanted to let those of you who have enjoyed our Senior Living column that while Nancy Turney will continue her work for the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, she is stepping back from the task of writing that column.

Should you know a gerontology expert who might be interested in providing a column on the subject, please have him or her contact me via email.

CAROL CORMACI is managing editor. Email her at carol.cormaci@latimes.com.

Copyright © 2019, La Cañada Valley Sun
EDITION: California | U.S. & World