By Mayor Marsha McLean
Over the years, the Youth Grove in Central Park has served as a solemn place of reflection that honors the lives of Santa Clarita youth who have died in traffic-related incidents. It is also a reminder to residents to be safe and responsible drivers so that no more lives will be lost behind the wheel. As a community, it is critical that we come together to not only remember those we have lost, but also take necessary steps to ensure that no other family in Santa Clarita has to deal with the pain of losing a loved one.
Each September, the City hosts an Evening of Remembrance at the Youth Grove to pay respect to the Santa Clarita youth who have died in traffic-related incidents, including those 114 individuals who are memorialized with a pillar in the Youth Grove. I, along with my fellow members of the Santa Clarita City Council, want to invite you to this year’s Evening of Remembrance on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. in Central Park.
The evening will begin with a Walk of Remembrance that will begin and end at the Youth Grove. The walk will be led by the families of those memorialized in the Grove and community leaders. Everyone is invited to participate. Following the Walk of Remembrance, the Evening of Remembrance ceremony will take place on an adjacent field.
This powerful event serves a number of purposes for the entire community. In addition to honoring those youth who have passed away in traffic-related incidents, it also unites residents and reminds us all just how much life is so precious.
I also want to encourage you and your family to sit down and discuss safe road behaviors, especially if your children are of driving age. The City’s award-winning Heads Up traffic safety campaign, which consists of public education, increased enforcement measures from the Sheriff’s Department and traffic engineering enhancements, has resulted in fewer collisions and injuries on Santa Clarita streets.
However, even one fatality is one too many.
To help get the conversation started, the City has put together a Heads Up website at santa-clarita.com/HeadsUp. This site includes statistics about traffic safety, as well as helpful tips and reminders for how to be safe as a driver, pedestrian and cyclist. This information will help your child as he or she gains more experience behind the wheel, and it is also a good way to connect the messages received at the Evening of Remembrance to their everyday life.
I hope you and your family will make plans to join us for the Evening of Remembrance on September 17. I look forward to seeing you there for this important event.