Liz Duran was one of many community members who attended the grand opening of Los Serranos Park in Chino Hills Saturday morning after waiting years for it to open.
As she sat on a bench watching the children play, the mother of seven said she still has two at home and grandchildren at Chaparral Elementary School who will enjoy everything the park has to offer.
Children took advantage of the warm weather to fly on the zipline, play foursquare games, climb a rock wall, ride on a modern merry-go-round, play basketball, and dig sand with an excavator.
Exercise folks who traverse the walking path four times will have completed a mile and can work out at four fitness stations along the way.
Residents will be allowed to reserve the park gazebos for four hours at no charge.
The 6-acre park is located on Pomona Rincon Road adjacent to Chaparral.
“This is truly a big day for the city of Chino Hills and the Los Serranos community,” said Chino Hills Mayor Cynthia Moran when she opened the ceremony under sunny skies. “Parks are the soul of Chino Hills, and without any funding or land, the city set out to find a way to bring a park to this community.”
Joint meetings between the school district and the city of Chino Hills began in 1998, but land ownership issues muddled the process over the years because the district owned the land.
Man of the hour
The mayor credited retired Supt. Wayne Joseph for helping the city solve the problem.
“Mr. Joseph, we brought this idea to many before you, but you were the superintendent who said yes,” she said. “We owe you a debt of gratitude for supporting our plan to build a park on school district land.”
Mr. Joseph joked that he didn’t know the difference between Bird Farm and Big Bird when the city of Chino Hills approached him about the matter.
The mayor introduced former Chaparral principal Tom Mackessy, current principal Brandon Davis, Bob Meeting, co-founder of RJM Design Group who designed the park and several others in Chino Hills, and Sam Kasbar, chief executive officer of Kasa Construction of Chino and his team who built the park.
Mrs. Moran credited the Chino Hills Community Foundation for originally committing $150,000 to help build the playground, an amount that was increased to $173,000 thanks to two donors, both who were in the audience.
She thanked Champion publisher emeritus Allen McCombs and the McCombs Family Foundation for contributing $20,000 and Chino Hills residents Howard and Nikki Applebaum and their foundation for contributing $3,000 for special needs play equipment.
Mayor Moran said the city made a $4.8 million investment in the park with funding from various sources including the General Fund, $2.7 million from park fees paid by new home developers and Community Facilities District 5 taxpayers who paid $1.9 million.