It took nearly 20 years, but Pearl Park (3001 Pearl Dr.) is finally complete and open to the public. Located in a historically park-poor area in Fullerton known as the Gem District, Pearl Park officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on February 4 featuring local elected officials and residents of the neighborhood.
“The Pearl Park project was a long endeavor,” Recreation Supervisor John Clements said. “Back in the 70s this property was a community pool and over time it fell into disrepair and was removed. But the need for a safe recreation space remained. The City since 2003 has been working on developing this park.”
Funding came from several sources, including a $1.5 million grant from the state of California and $75,000 from St. Jude Medical Center.
Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee, who formerly served on Fullerton City Council, discussed the struggle the City had in acquiring the property, which had been owned by over 30 separate owners.
“A lot of work went into doing that,” Chaffee said. He thanked City staff for their perseverance.
Chaffee also acknowledged the group Joya Scholars, who does educational programs in the neighborhood.
Clements said that community input was important in planning and developing Pearl Park. “We’d like to thank the community for their help in working out problems and helping with the park design.”
Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“The important thing is we’re going to have a place for these children to get out in the sunshine and fresh air, enjoy athletic endeavors, and just be able to play,” Whitaker said. “This new park will stand as an example of how partnerships between the City and community organizations and securing grant-funding can make exciting things happen.”
State Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, who also spoke at the ribbon cutting, recalled how the idea of renovating Pearl Park was a topic of discussion back in 2004 when she first served on Fullerton City Council.
“After many years, too many years, it’s finally here,” Quirk-Silva said. “We know that this area, north Orange County, needs more places like this, so we’ll keep working at that.”
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