Calling all children who want to get their hands dirty: the Athens Toddler Park is now open. Funded by First 5 LA and built in partnership with LA County Parks and Recreation, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, the Athens tot lot was designed especially for children ages 2 to 5.
The new Toddler Park goes hand in glove with the Tiny Tot University—a pre-K program at Athens Park for children ages 3 to 5 to develop extensive math, science and English skills. But now with the Toddler Park, young children have a spot specially dedicated to their needs and abilities; they can play musical instruments, climb on nature-inspired balance beams, play with colorful panels for tactile sensory development and romp in a butterfly garden help promote unstructured play time.
The tot park is a part of Athens Park, which features two large baseball diamonds, a gymnasium, swimming pool, large community room and a computer lab. In addition to 20 acres urban park land, Athens Park provides year-round recreational programs including After School and Summer Day Camps, youth sports such as basketball, baseball, tackle football, cheerleading, summer lunch, and After School snack program.
The Athens Toddler Park is yet another bright spot in the local park landscape. Last September, the West Athens Victory Garden, opened on a once-empty lot that was once a blight in the West Athens neighborhood. The garden features 30 raised garden beds, which residents applied for, it boasts fruit trees, a play structure for children, a walking path along the entire perimeter and a rainwater cistern, that will catch as much as 1700 gallons of water annually—enough to provide water for most of the fruit trees that have been planted in the garden.
“Parks bring an essential quality to any community,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has made it a priority to improve and create parks throughout the Second District. “Children, especially, need to have a safe, clean place to run around and be children. I am grateful for this unique public-private partnership that is demonstrating it is possible to green our communities and improve lives.”