Santa Clarita parks stand the test of time 

Santa Clarita Park, located in Saugus, was established in 1975 before the city's incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Santa Clarita Park, located in Saugus, was established in 1975 before the city's incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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Inheriting a parks deficit upon 1987 incorporation, city has boosted its number of parks by 450% 

One element that makes Santa Clarita live up to its safe, family-oriented reputation is perhaps its dedication in ensuring that residents of all ages have access to recreational areas and facilities.  

The city’s parks offerings have grown as the population of the city has grown, with a reported population estimate of 221,345 in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in comparison to a reported 110,000 in 1987, the year of the city’s official incorporation. 

The population since the city’s establishment has doubled, with nearly a 637% parks acreage increase in the past 37 years — putting Santa Clarita into the rankings of cities with the greatest access to parks and open space. 

As of February, there are 37 parks in the city of Santa Clarita, according to Susan Nelson, city of Santa Clarita parks manager. Since 1987, the number of parks in Santa Clarita has grown by over 450%.  

Santa Clarita Park, located in Saugus, was established in 1975 before the city's incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Santa Clarita Park, located in Saugus, was established in 1975 before the city’s incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“In those 37 parks, it’s approximately 420 acres of parkland. As of now, we have nine pools, 21 community rooms and 12 softball fields. We also have one baseball field at Plum Canyon Park,” Nelson said. “When the city incorporated, there were eight parks that comprised approximately 57 acres of parkland. There were six community rooms, five pools, and five softball fields.”  

The original city parks upon incorporation included: Newhall Park (1949), Old Orchard Park (1968), North Oaks Park (1969), Valencia Glen Park (1969), Bouquet Canyon Park (1975), Santa Clarita Park (1975), Valencia Meadows Park (1975) and Almendra Park (1983). 

Valencia Meadows Park, located in Valencia, was established in 1975 before the city's incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Valencia Meadows Park, located in Valencia, was established in 1975 before the city’s incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Many of the parks until the year of incorporation had been established for years, but the city executed a significant increase in the number of parks in a short amount of time after its incorporation. 

“These parks existed prior to the city’s official formation. When the city incorporated, those parks were part of that incorporation. So they were previously county parks, and when the city incorporated, they became city parks,” Nelson said.  

Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating parks and protecting public lands, ranked Santa Clarita’s park system No. 47 among the nation’s largest cities through its ParkScore index, as well as providing the following statistics from 2023: 

  • 52% of children ages 0-19 live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 
  • 52% of adults ages 20-64 live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 
  • 49% of seniors ages 65+ live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 
  • 49% of high-income residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 
  • 52% of middle-income residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 
  • 57% of low-income residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 
  • The percentages of race/ethnicity of residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a park include: 51% Native American, 51% Asian, 48% Black, 53% Hispanic, 47% Pacific Islander, 51% White, 52% two or more race, and 52% other. 

In addition, Santa Clarita parks amenities include 66 hoops, three dog parks, 24 playgrounds and 46 restrooms, according to the 2023 ParkScore Index. 

According to Nelson, the city has had a strong focus on supporting the development of parks at a high standard for every part of the city: Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country and Newhall. 

Valencia Glen Park, located in Valencia, was established in 1969 before the city's incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Valencia Glen Park, located in Valencia, was established in 1969 before the city’s incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“Since incorporation, the city has always strongly supported the development of parks, and along with that, recreational programming. There’s a strong emphasis in maintaining our parks to a very high quality standard — that’s really to ensure that our park spaces meet the needs of the community,” Nelson said. 

When considering future park development, which are always in the works, the parks division of Santa Clarita takes into consideration previous patterns and trends, as well as park inventory, to help determine future park expansions.  

Among the major developments throughout the years included Central Park, the Santa Clarita Sports Complex, and within that, the Aquatic Center. Central Park opened in the following phases: Phase I in 2000, Phase II in 2003, Phase III in 2013 and Phase IV in 2023, according to Nelson.  

Old Orchard Park, located in Newhall, was established in 1968 before the city's incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Old Orchard Park, located in Newhall, was established in 1968 before the city’s incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

In addition, according to Nelson, the Santa Clarita Sports Complex opened with the gymnasium in 1998, The Centre in 2000, the Aquatics Center in 2003 and the Santa Clarita Skate Park in 2009. 

“Central Park is one of our regional park sites that really is a hub for sports activities, as well as special events such as Concerts in the Park. Another sizable, more regional-sized park is the Santa Clarita Sports Complex and within that entire complex, there is the Aquatic Center that is home to three pools — which offers a lot of opportunities for classes, banquets, and party rentals,” Nelson said. “The gymnasium offers the indoor basketball courts and can also be used for volleyball, there’s pickleball courts inlaid in there. The complex also includes the skate park, which is the city’s only skate park.” 

Newhall Park, located in Newhall, was established in 1949 before the city's incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Newhall Park, located in Newhall, was established in 1949 before the city’s incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

With over 35 years of development for an expanding community, and with no signs of stopping, Santa Clarita has plans to continue to invest in new parks, and to bring new parks online as part of new residential developments. 

“Looking ahead, we have some pretty exciting things coming within our park system. We’re in the process of park construction being wrapped up at Skyline Ranch Park. It will be opening this spring and it will be the city’s 38th park,” Nelson said. 

Skyline Ranch Park will encompass 10 acres, adding another baseball field, a tennis court, basketball court and a playground and multipurpose fields.  

Valencia Glen Park, located in Valencia, was established in 1969 before the city's incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Valencia Glen Park, located in Valencia, was established in 1969 before the city’s incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“We are also in the process of improvement at the Valencia Community Center, which was the old YMCA building off of McBean Parkway. The improvements we’re working on are quite a bit of cosmetic upgrades, as well as a renovation of the indoor pool at that site.” 

The improvements are expected to be completed late in 2024.  

David March Park, near Plum Canyon Elementary School, will see construction and expand by 5 acres. 

“Included in that expansion is another baseball field, a restroom building, additional parking, a basketball court and picnic pavilions,” Nelson said. “Another project is the rehabilitation of Old Orchard Park, which was built back in 1968. [We’re] bringing new life to that park with a new playground, architectural upgrades to the existing building out there and an additional multi-sport court.” 

Valencia Meadows Park, located in Valencia, was established in 1975 before the city's incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Valencia Meadows Park, located in Valencia, was established in 1975 before the city’s incorporation. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Santa Clarita continues to grow, both in size and resources, but hones in on its values since its incorporation: excellence, high quality services and a futuristic approach. 

“We receive a lot of positive feedback from the community and folks outside of the community, even those who come to Santa Clarita for sports tournaments, and are passing through and visiting their family,” Nelson said. “We receive a lot of compliments on the amount of park space, the variations and amenities that we offer, the quality of our spaces and the cleanliness.” 

To see a locator map of Santa Clarita’s parks, visit: https://tinyurl.com/5fceymxe

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