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COAST, CENTRAL, AND NORTHWEST CITIES : SANTA ANA

New Park Will Be Built on Patricia Lane

The state will help pay for the new green space on a parcel that was used during freeway expansion about a decade ago.

August 30, 2000|ALEX KATZ | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Residents in the area around Patricia Lane will finally have a new, tree-lined park in their neighborhood where a large, weed-filled vacant lot has sat unused for about 10 years.

About two years ago, residents started lobbying city and state officials to build a park on the 1-acre lot. Last week, $533,000 was set aside to build the park under a state program to fund neighborhood improvements around freeways and other transportation facilities.

The grant is expected to pay for most of the park's construction.

The lot on Patricia Lane has remained vacant since Caltrans demolished nine houses there to make room for the expansion of the Santa Ana Freeway about a decade ago.

Although open space is scarce in land-strapped Santa Ana, no plans were made to develop the lot into a park until about 70 residents petitioned government officials.

City plans show the future park as mostly grass and trees with a walkway bordering the street.

Residents have made makeshift improvements to the vacant lot bordering the freeway's sound wall near the 4th Street offramp, putting up volleyball nets and clearing trash.

Some residents said building a new park will change the neighborhood's character.

"It will give the neighborhood a sense of pride," said Desi Reyes of the Saddleback View Neighborhood Assn.

Others said the park is needed to give children a place to play.

"Before, this neighborhood was just for adults, but new families are arriving," said Gloria Rubalcava, who has lived in the area 26 years. "The kids are playing in the street, and it's very dangerous. Most of my neighbors are going to be super-happy" about the new park.

Alex Katz can be reached at (714) 966-5977.

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