Swarthout park renovations

EL CENTRO, Calif. – Imagine a park with no grass. That’s what Swarthout Park looked like for the past few decades. Since early last year the city of El Centro has been working on renovating the worn down play ground and now community members are getting ready to reopen it for use.

“We started approximately two years ago a major renovation of our fields and now they are beautiful, ready to be used, but we also couldn’t do projects like this without the partnership of organizations like Kiwanis,” said Marcela Piedra, who is the director of community services for the city of El Centro.

The park had been vandalized and was in need of repair. Officials decided to close it while fixtures were made. That’s when Kiwanis Club stepped up to the plate and donated more than $20 thousand to complete the project.

“This is a park that needed a little help, it needed to be renovated, it was getting a little out dated a little bad. So we came together and decided that for the children it would be great to give them another place to do sports,” said President of Kiwanis Club, Andrew Williams.

Two years ago the park was a bit of an eye sore for some and it was only creating dust due to the lack of green. Now with a lush turf in place and proper lighting equipment it is one step closer to opening.

“If people remember there was a dust-bowl out here, where kids were playing soccer and there was just dust. So we decided to close it off and just start with the field renovation,” said Piedra.

City officials say this was the last part of remodeling for Swarthout Park. The park should be open by March 1st, 2015.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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