Op-Ed: Every child deserves their own Story Park

In our “Yes for Parks!” series, we share articles submitted by local community members in support of Measure A, an upcoming measure on the November ballot that asks voters to continue funding all Los Angeles County parks through a special tax of 1.5 cents per improved property. To learn more about Measure A, visit: http://www.apiopa.org/measurea/.

So here’s the story: my parents could not afford to supply me with toys and video games, but what they could afford was time for an afternoon at the park. Growing up, I experienced countless hours of fun and play at Story Park in the city of Alhambra. From attending a friend’s birthday party to flying off the swings with my sister, Story Park always held another adventure waiting for me to discover. I loved this park. I would race up and down its grassy hills until I collapsed at its top to roll all the way down. The playground evolved into an imaginary battlefield where my cousins and I would attempt to fend off invading zombies. My sister and I met new friends with whom we played tag, hide-and-seek, and treasure hunting. I passed footballs with my dad and tossed Frisbees with my cousins. In my eyes, toys or video games couldn’t compare to the escapades of Story Park.

Each day at the park brought joy to my life; fresh air and cool shade from its numerous trees enhanced the adventures of which I embarked within its borders. Now as I bide my time in the concrete jungle we call high school, I reflect on these carefree days, and I have come to develop a greater appreciation for public parks. Sure these parks helped me stay healthy and fit, but I look back at these memories and confidently say that I had an amazing childhood because of Story Park. I’m willing to bet that Story Park had the same impact on those that enjoyed the park alongside me as well.

I tell this story because I would like to ask for your support in voting for Measure A, an upcoming initiative on the ballot in November that will help fund parks across Los Angeles County. Public parks are important to our communities because they provide an opportunity for children and adults alike to enjoy the outdoors, for free. Parks are a right, not a privilege, and all people should have the right to adventure and delight in the wonders of public parks.

I am only 17, so unfortunately I will not have the chance to vote for this; and that is why I need help from fellow community members like you! A Yes vote on Measure A means my story of Story Park does not have a sad ending. This election, please vote Yes on Measure A so that local parks in Alhambra continue to be places where stories are made.

Aaron Lockett is a senior at Mark Keppel High School, where he also serves as President of Promoting Youth Advocacy.

5 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Every child deserves their own Story Park”

  1. Someone please educate me on public financing. It seems to me that our tax dollars go to pay the government employees only. Whenever we need to improve the highways, schools, parks, etc, we are told that we need to pay some special taxes or pay for some bonds to specifically finance those “special” projects. And the governments appear to feel that it is the citizens’ fault that roads are not maintained, for example, if we do not approve those tax increases. Is this a healthy thing? Why not have the thing the other way: Treat the pay and benefit increases of government employees as some “special” project and they only get hired or a payraise if the citizens approve the tax or bond to fund it? The city make money on those “over-developed” apartments and why can’t those money spent on schools and parks? If your boss says “Johnny, please update the budget for me for the new minimum wage rate.” Would you ask your boss for a special payraise for it? Isn’t it part of your job? Keeping the schools and parks “up to date” is not the city’s normal job?

  2. I forgot to say that your article is well written, Aaron. Thanks for publishing it.

  3. I agree Aaron.

    L.A. County completed a Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment Study in May 2016 that included a specific report on Alhambra. The study reported that the County average is 3.3 park acres per 1,000 persons. Policy 4.4.1 in the City of Alhambra’s own General Plan states the following as one of its goals, “Promote the designation and/or acquisition of open space areas to meet existing and future open space and parks needs of City residents by providing open space in parkland in accordance with the standards of four acres of local park space for every 1,000 persons.” Yet, the L.A. County Parks and Rec. Needs Assessment Study reported that Alhambra has 0.9 park acres per 1,000 city residents, and was designated by the study as a “High Park Need” city.

    When the community was protesting the City Council’s proposal to build a parking structure at Almansor Park, one community member noted at a city council meeting that the answer to over-crowded parks is not parking structures but more parks. A council member replied that there is no more room in Alhambra for more parks. To that I say, “and whose fault is that?” The city has become over-developed to the detriment of adequate green space, which happened on the current city council’s watch.

    Rather than build more high density, unaffordable housing units like the one being built in Midwick and the one just finished at Alhambra Place, the city council should be proposing ways to increase green space.

    There is an empty lot on Freemont that has sat vacant for over a year. Rather than using the lot for more commercial development, why not create a new park for the residents in that space? There are solutions, we just need city leaders willing to find them and act upon them.

    Even if measure M passes, and I hope it does, Alhambrans still need to elect city council people on Nov. 8 who will utilize measure M to address the residents’ concerns about over-development and a lack of park green space.

    Please vote in your local elections on Nov. 8.

  4. We had a huge tax increase a few years ago that was supposed to fix everything. More businesses keep leaving the state because of high taxes, and good jobs leave with them.

    Dont worry, at this rate there will be plenty of open space for parks once all the companies are gone.

    1. Hello Joseph,

      You can keep believing what you feel, or you can look at statics showing that the Southern California economy is booming, and that we live in a state that has 7th strongest economy in the world. But sure, let’s keep believing that California is a wasteland for business and that parks are unnecessary for a good way of life.

Leave a Reply