Residents and business leaders gathered at the newly expanded Santa Clarita Central Park as Mayor Jason Gibbs led the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday for the Central Park Buildout Project.
The Central Park Buildout Project took nearly two years to complete as a part of Santa Clarita 2025, the city’s strategic plan to build and create community. According to Gibbs, Santa Clarita now boasts over 13,000 acres of open space, over 100 miles of trails and 37 parks.
“As you look around today, you can see some of those many additions and upgrades that have taken place here at Central Park, including four new full-size multipurpose fields, a brand new restroom building, an additional basketball court, the installation of sports field lighting, landscaping and irrigation upgrades to the adjacent dog park, Central Bark, and the community favorite: [the] 172 step exercise staircase,” Gibbs said during his speech.
Among the community leaders in attendance were Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth, Councilwoman Marsha McLean, Councilman Bill Miranda and Councilwoman Laurene Weste. Gibbs also introduced the representatives of elected officials, including Tammy Stevens from the office of Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, Kris Hough from the office of Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and Isabell Yaralian from the office of L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
Other attendees included representatives from the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, the city’s Parks, Arts and Planning Commissions, as well as City Manager Ken Striplin.
In addition to the new amenities in Central Park, 100 box trees and over 3,500 drought-tolerant plants were added to support the water conservation initiative, as well as a new parking lot that covers 2.3 acres and includes 268 parking stalls with electric vehicle and handicapped-accessible spaces consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“We also added nearly 30 light poles as well as pathway lights throughout the plaza here with us today,” Gibbs said. “The plaza will continue to evolve over the next coming months. In October, the City Council approved the installation of a permanent art piece, titled, ‘When a Cloud Meets a Cloud.’ The sculpture will be installed in … the center of the plaza.”
Carrie Lujan, the communications manager for Santa Clarita, elaborated on the new art project, which she said will enhance the beautification process of Central Park, and allow for the celebration of local and national holidays throughout the year.
“Something that is still in the process here, which the mayor mentioned, is this art piece that will be over at the central circle area. The council is considering adding a river of lights that will [consist] of LED lights that will cascade down from the staircase all throughout the pathway here,” Lujan said. “If that does get approved and goes through, that’s going to make Central Park the landmark location, here in Santa Clarita.”
Although there is still gravel present, the plans to transform the pathway will quickly change due to the residents’ appreciation of the new services.
“We have so much demand for field space here in Santa Clarita and Central Park being the crown jewel of our park system — this was the ideal place to add additional fields,” Lujan said. “The exercise staircase has been incredibly popular. Even before it was done, people were trying to get on it. I think it just shows how active the community is and that people are really looking for those kinds of free amenities so that they can get a good workout, and build a sense of community while doing so.”
Following Gibbs’ speech, representatives from the city and the L.A. County Fire Department raced up the stairs in groups of three. Roger Willcox, the emergency operations analyst for the city, sported a new medal, along with his counterparts.
“It was fantastic, even though it was a little bit warm today, but I think we’re used to it with all the hot summers that we have,” Willcox said. “I’m always outside playing any kind of sport, so going up the steps was a new experience for sure, but it was an awesome time. I had a blast.”