Las Flores looks to become more accessible

Samira Felix
News Editor

The city of La Verne’s Las Flores Park south-end playground is one of nine parks competing for a $75,000 grant by the Niagara Cares and the National Recreation and Park Association Perk Your Park program. The three parks with the most votes by the end of the voting period, Sept. 18, will each receive $75,000 for renovations. 

Yvonne Duran, La Verne community services department head said she was notified that the Las Flores park is currently in third place. 

“If we can just keep that third place then we can be one of the lucky ones to receive that $75,000 grant,” Duran said. 

If Las Flores were to win, it would receive a grant for an adaptive and accessible playground equipment renovation. 

“It would give access for any person in La Verne, no matter what age, mobility issues or anything, to be able to play in the playground,” Tim Hepburn, La Verne mayor, said. 

Niagara Bottling and the NRPA opened applications for the program in March for park agencies in Texas, California, and Georgia. The deadline for the application was on April 1. 

Duran said the decision to submit the Las Flores Park south-end was because the city has been asked in the past for adaptive elements since it is one of the oldest playgrounds in the city that is accessible to a certain point. 

“Somebody with a wheelchair can’t really do much on the playground,” Duran said. 

David Pratt Luce III, a La Verne resident who is at the park most days with his kids, said the renovation would make the park more enticing for parents to bring their kids to have another outlet other than their home.

“I think to provide a better, more workable playground would definitely benefit  not only my kids, but the friends of my kids, benefit parents and we’ve benefited many other Roynon kids or kids who just live in that area,” Luce said. 

In order to involve the community in the process once the nine agencies were chosen, the program opened up voting on August 7. During this period members of the communities can vote for their favorite park once per day on the Perk Your Park website. 

Niagara Cares is the charitable giving program that Niagara, a family-owned and operated beverage company, started to give back to the community through volunteering, water donations, disaster relief, and other initiatives.

“I think with the business purpose and the business mission and with our corporate giving and our charitable stuff, we really have alignment to make sure that we are truly being a part of our communities and being a part of that impact,” Allison Morimoto, associate manager of corporate giving at Niagara Bottling, said. “And it’s important that we are supporting our communities and our team members as well.

In 2016, Niagara Cares partnered with the NRPA, a nonprofit organization that helps build strong communities through parks and recreation, to create the Perk Your Park program in order to restore parks and outdoor spaces in communities throughout the U.S. 

“We want to wrap our arms around our communities and through Perk Your Park we are asking for our communities to come together and choose the parks that they want to receive the grant,” Morimoto said.“This allows a community togetherness and for us to all  be in this together.” 

After the three winners are announced in mid-October the program will work with the agencies by offering their support through the process. 

“We are working with them from the start to finish, getting their support and supporting them with not just the donation, but also with community or volunteer opportunities and really engaging our local team members throughout the entire process as support to this community and to the parties,” Morimoto said. 

For more information on the Perk Your Park program, visit niagaraperkyourpark.com.

Samira Felix can be reached at samira.felix@laverne.edu.

Samira Felix, a junior journalism major with a concentration in print-online journalism, is news editor for the Campus Times. She previously served as a staff writer.

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