Council President Herb Wesson and his wife Fabian Wesson are joined by students from Virginia Road Elementary School as they unveil the new sign at the Gladys Jean Wesson Park. (Courtesy Photo)
After many months of planning and construction, the Gladys Jean Wesson Park in the West Adams community held its official Grand Opening.
This is the second park in the span of two weeks that Council President Herb Wesson and the Department of Parks and Recreation have opened in the 10th Council District.
It was Recreation and Parks General Manager Mike Shull who surprised Council President Herb Wesson at the park’s groundbreaking with news that the park would be named for his late mother, Gladys Jean Wesson.
Under the leadership of the Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Los Angeles Neighborhoods Initiative (LANI), the park has taken shape and now offers a beautiful oasis on West Boulevard and West Adams Boulevard.
Located across the street from the People Coordinated Services Senior Center near the West Boulevard overpass that spans the Santa Monica Freeway, the vacant city lot was converted into the new neighborhood park.
The late Gladys Jean Wesson was a very active advocate for improving the lives of seniors, especially at the senior center.
A force of nature who was always engaged in community affairs, Gladys Wesson passed away in June of 2011. However, her important contributions in creating the senior center’s computer lab, pushing to get a new roof, and many other improvements have never been forgotten.
Wesson, surrounded at the park by family and friends, was very moved by this tribute to his late mother. He thanked the park’s planners and city officials for making this new recreation asset available to the community.
“I greatly appreciate the acknowledgement my mother has received, said Wesson. “But this park is really a gift to the community. A community that my mother was a part of for many years and cared for very deeply.”
Said Wesson, “A resource like this for the kids and the seniors is what she would have been advocating for, and I know that her spirit is with us today.”
The park include a children’s play area, picnic space, a plaza with tables and seating, custom shade canopy, and adult fitness equipment. Also included are native landscaping, trees, a smart irrigation system, and a decorative gate.
Students from the Virginia Road Elementary School contributed design elements and participated in the opening ceremony
Extensive community outreach was performed by LANI to get input on the park’s design. Workshops were held with neighborhood groups and organizations, including the West Adams Neighborhood Council, block clubs and the senior center. A steering committee was formed of stakeholders representing the community.
The new Gladys Wesson Park is part of the city’s 50 Parks Initiative, a program designed to create accessible public space in underserved areas throughout Los Angeles.