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Pico Rivera, Two Other Cities Reap Olympic Windfall

March 31, 1985|LEE HARRIS and STEVEN R. CHURM | Times Staff Writers

The cities of Long Beach, Cerritos and Pico Rivera have received a "big thank you" of nearly $145,000 from the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for hosting some events and providing training sites for the 1984 Summer Games.

The three cities are among 17 in Southern California to receive slices of a $2-million grant from the huge surplus generated by the Games.

Los Angeles Olympic leaders made the announcement in the last week of their first grant, which will go to these cities to expand hours and staffing at recreation sites this summer. Olympic venues or training sites were located in these "17 Olympic cities" and the grant is a "big thank you for the inconvenience," said Dan Cruz, a Los Angeles Olympic official.

The money will be disbursed by the Amateur Athletics Foundation, which was established last fall by the LAOOC and is being endowed with $100 million, said Cruz. The foundation was created in September after it was announced the Games had generated a huge surplus, now reportedly $225 million.

To Underwrite Youth Athletics

Under an earlier agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee, the foundation is to receive 40% of any surplus from the Summer Games and the money is to go solely to underwriting youth athletics in Southern California.

Later this year, other Southern California municipalities and agencies will be able to apply to the foundation for money for youth athletic programs, said Cruz, the LAOOC's vice president of youth activities.

Under the initial grant, Long Beach will receive $111,585, Cerritos $22,230 and Pico Rivera about $11,000.

One of the foundation's stipulations requires that the money be used for "Summer Games '85," a series of special athletic competitions at parks and playgrounds in the 17 designated cities.

Competition will be conducted in co-ed volleyball, three-on-three basketball for boys and girls, track and field for boys and girls and special skills, such as throwing baseballs and footballs.

Regional championships will be held in August and at the end of the 10-week program, there will be a Southern California championship event.

Repaid for Cooperation

"Some cities were unable to use their recreational facilities for much of the summer because of the Games," said Cruz, one of three LAOOC staff members coordinating the foundation's operations.

"The foundation felt it was important to repay these cities for their kindness and cooperation," Cruz said.

"We are delighted to receive these funds," said James Ruth, director of parks and recreation in Long Beach.

Long Beach was the site of four Olympic events: archery at El Dorado Park, volleyball at the Long Beach Arena, yachting in the marina and fencing at the Convention and Entertainment Center.

Ruth said the funds will be used to hire an undetermined number of additional staff members for the summer and expand hours at 21 parks and recreational sites in the city.

Will Hire Coaches

The funds also will be used to hire coaches to train youths for Summer Games '85, Ruth said.

He said nearly $20,000 of the city's funds would go to the school district to provide transportation to recreational sites for disadvantaged youths. Most of the funds would be used for hiring while some portions would be used to purchase equipment and materials.

In Cerritos, where the city's Olympic Swim Center was closed for nearly two months before and during the Games so foreign athletes could work out at the complex, summer recreational programs were expected to be greatly expanded.

Kevin McArdle, leisure services superintendent, said the city expected to be able to hire enough extra staff to expand operations by 200 hours a week at four parks.

"This is very, very exciting for the city," he said.

"In an age when recreation programs often are the first cut when budgets become tight, this is a refreshing change."

McArdle said the Cerritos City Council must approve acceptance of the program. The council is expected to do so at its regular meeting Wednesday.

Pico Rivera's Plans

In Pico Rivera, where Olympic swimmers trained at the city pool at Smith Park, the recreation department was expected to hire at least four additional staff members for the summer program and expand by more than 30 hours each week.

There also will be a recreational program at one of its high schools for the first time, said Maureen Hammond, city recreation superintendent.

"We are really excited about having enough money to keep El Rancho High School open during the summer," Hammond said.

In September, Olympic officials announced the Games had produced a $150-million surplus. That figure has steadily grown to $225 million and may reach $250 million as sales of Olympic coins and other memorabilia have increased and the money has earned interest.

Cruz said the foundation will not distribute its money all at once, but will make annual contributions to athletics from its interest income, providing a lasting legacy of the 1984 Games.

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