Mia Vellano plays at Huffington Park on Sept. 28. The whale is a favorite play feature that the city kept as a part of the newly renovated park, which was rededicated last week. Mia's mother, Lettie Vellano, said she loves the park now. "I mean, she asks for the pirate park to ride the 'dolphin' and ring the bells," Vellano said.
The Friends of West U Parks chose Huffington Park for its 2009 redevelopment project, and committed $150,000 to improvements. New amenities include two new play structures, fencing around the whole park, and new picnic tables, benches, trash cans, a water fountain, seven new trees, as well as renovation of the seating arbor.
Emory Reilly, 7, pushes her friend Katie Kuykendall, also 7, on Sept. 28. Katie's father David Kuykendall said the family lives across the street and watched the renovations from the beginning. "It looks real good," he said. "It gets a lot more use now than it used to."
(left to right) Adrian Melendez, his mother Isabel Tobar, and Lachlan Murray eat an afternoon snack under the seating arbor, which was renovated in the improvements.
Friends of West U Parks and their families attended a rededication ceremony on Sept. 23 along with the Mayor, City Councilmen, Parks and Recreation Department members, Friends of West U Parks members and many board members.
The city bought land at College and Milton Streets, which was formerly JMH Grocery, in 1990. It was known as Milton Street Park early on, and the city developed it through the early 90s to include sidewalks, tables, benches, a playground, and other features. When the JM Huffington family donated $100,000 in 1996, the city renamed it Huffington Park.