City accepting new names to add to Youth Grove

Candles atop tree stumps representing the lives cut short at the Youth Grove at Central Park ahead of the annual Walk of Remembrance on Wednesday, honoring Santa Clarita residents age 24 or under who died in car-related accidents. KATHARINE LOTZE/Signal. 10142015

The city of Santa Clarita is now accepting names to add to this year’s Youth Grove list, a memorial dedicated to the local youth who died in traffic-related collisions.

Those interested in participating should fill out a release form that is due by Sunday, June 30, the city said in a news release Wednesday.

The Youth Grove, located in Central Park at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, is a grassroots effort brought forth by the city and the Blue Ribbon Task Force, composed of various supporters ranging from parents to educators and law enforcement.

The area is made up of tree stumps with plaques containing the names of those who have died. Currently, the memorial has the names of 107 people who were 24 years old or younger.

As of this year, “there have been zero teenage fatalities in traffic incidents in 2019 and there were zero in 2018. There was one teenage fatality in a traffic incident in Santa Clarita in 2017,” said Kevin Strauss, a city communications specialist, who cited the city’s traffic statistics.

He added that other efforts include the city’s Heads Up traffic safety campaign, launched in 2017, which “reduced overall traffic collisions by 10.5% in its first year,” as well as a 17% drop in traffic collisions involving teen drivers in 2018, after releasing a video contest that encouraged distraction-free driving.

Besides its White Ribbon campaign, which promotes the same message and is held from May 27 through June 7, Santa Clarita hosts the annual Evening of Remembrance event at the Youth Grove. This year’s event will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 17, starting at 6:45 a.m., and will include names submitted by June 30.

For more information about adding a name to the Youth Grove, and to access the release form, visit santa-clarita.com/YouthGrove or contact Tess Simgen at [email protected]

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Tammy Murga

Tammy Murga

Tammy Murga covers city hall and business for The Signal. She joined in the summer of 2018, previously working in Northern California as an assistant editor and reporter for the Lake County Record-Bee. In 2016, she graduated from Mount Saint Mary's University, Los Angeles. Have a story tip? Message her on Twitter or at [email protected]