It was a long time in the making, but after over a decade of planning, the Department finally celebrated the groundbreaking for Los Angeles State Historic Park on March 15, 2014. Joining Sate Parks Director General AnthonyJackson, Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap, and Los Angeles Sector Superintendent Sean Woods were community activists, elected officials, and private partners who worked together over the years to make the vision of a park at the “Cornfields” a reality. State Senator Kevin De Leon spoke eloquently about the park which was born of struggle and community activism by concerned citizens seeking environmental justice for their neighborhoods. Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez reminded us how local legislators fought to support funding for the construction the park, despite the economic downturn and a slow recovery. Representatives from the Gabrieleno/Tongva Nation opened the ceremony with a blessing and the East Wind Lion Dancers from Chinatown delighted guest with a spirited performance.
The groundbreaking was a true celebration of community and a perfect opportunity to also announce the California State Parks partnership with UCLA’s Department of Theater, Film and Television. Dean Teri Shwartz introduced the new partnership with UCLA’s Interpretive Media Laboratory (IMLab) and prior to the groundbreaking guests were treated to an open house showcasing interpretive technology in development for the Park’s new visitor center, and a scale mockup of the “Welcome Center” itself, at the IMLab headquarters across the street from the park. The partnership will focus on creative digital interpretation to tell the history of the park and surrounding communities and Los Angeles State Historic Park will no doubt fulfill the community vision as a vibrant space for civic dialogue, cultural celebration and historic remembrance.