We just made a positive difference in thousands of children's lives.
Nearly four years ago, when Mayor Garcetti first took office, he came to visit places in Council District 2 that are important to me. The first place I took him was the Whitsett Sports Fields Park, a city-owned soccer complex in the heart of North Hollywood used by nearly 9,000 residents in the local neighborhood, most of them kids.
It is a public park where community partners like United Nations Soccer League and the North Hollywood Soccer League help at-risk kids stay off the streets and on the field with youth programs and sports. You may have played or watched a game there, or seen it as you've driven by on Whitsett Avenue or Vanowen Street.
When I took the Mayor to the park, Whitsett had one nice artificial turf field, but right next to it, there were fields of dirt and gravel. There was not one blade of grass on the other fields, yet kids were playing on them day in and day out. I knew the city could do better.
Right then, I committed to finding a way to give Whitsett Sports Fields Park what it needed most -- an extreme makeover with new soccer fields as the centerpiece.
Over the next few years, I worked hard with the Department of Recreation and Parks to cobble together funding from a variety of sources: from local bond measures and parks funds, from the federal government, and by tapping into the funds that developers are required to pay to improve city parks, called Quimby fees.
Now, I'm ecstatic to announce that the first phase of Whitsett Sports Fields Park's extreme makeover is finished. We now have one brand new full-size synthetic turf soccer field, two smaller soccer fields, an expanded parking lot, more trees, and new walkways and water fountains between the fields to make the park safe and inviting for our kids. The upgraded synthetic fields will reduce the park's water usage, reduce injuries and improve the playing experience for everyone. It is a huge step forward for our community.
The new fields and improvements are just the first of three phases, which will ultimately give Whitsett Sports Fields Park a grand total of seven synthetic soccer fields, along with restrooms and office buildings, and additional shaded areas and lighting.
So many city departments and bureaus, community organizations and nonprofits, and the local North Hollywood West Neighborhood Council played integral roles in making this makeover a reality. This is truly a community effort to create a community asset that our neighborhoods will be able to use and enjoy for generations to come.