Left to right: Santa Anita Neighborhood Association Treasurer Martha Calderon, Mayor Valerie Amezcua, Councilmember Thai Viet Phan, Councilmember Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, Santa Anita Neighborhood Association President Felipe Guerrero, and Councilmember David Penaloza
City officials held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 31, for the $16 million Santa Anita Park improvement project that will create a fun, active and safe space for the Santa Ana community.
The Santa Anita Park project, which is already under construction, will reactivate the historic park located at 300 S. Figueroa St. and bring expansive community programs, services and new amenities to surrounding neighborhoods. The project is funded through acquisition and development fees, a California Youth Soccer and Recreation Development grant, Community Development Block Grants, the City’s Cannabis Public Benefit Fund, and the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The latest phase of construction will focus on the new Community and Aquatics Center and a new location for the Police Athletic & Activity League (PAAL) with a space for a Santa Ana Police Department review and file station. The comprehensive Santa Anita Park project also includes a new synthetic turf soccer field, new sports lighting, upper terraces to allow for group or event canopies, a new basketball court, new play equipment, a parking lot expansion, new concrete walkways, new site lighting, new landscaping and irrigation, and regrading of the adjacent grass slopes to incorporate built-in concrete bleacher seating.
The City’s 2022 Parks Master Plan (PMP) identifies safety and park amenity enhancements as the top priorities for Santa Ana. The PMP helped define the City’s new parks mission statement and identified the commitment to parks and recreation: “We steward our parks, offer engaging recreation opportunities, and connect our diverse community through trails and programs to create a vibrant, livable city.”
The Santa Anita Neighborhood Association was instrumental in advocating for an improved park, working closely with the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Agency and elected officials to ensure that the project moved forward. Santa Anita Neighborhood Association President Felipe Guerrero and Youth Coordinator and Treasurer Martha Calderon attended community outreach meetings, canvassed the neighborhood, and sent correspondence to City staff and elected officials advocating for the improvements.
The safest and most vibrant parks are those most utilized by the community. The revitalization of Santa Anita Park will reactivate the area and help Santa Ana take one large step closer to achieving its goals of creating safe and inclusive recreation spaces.