Recognizing Essential Workers in the Second District

Refugio Rivas: Park to Playa Project

Last week’s installment of the Second District essential workers series recognized Shannon McQueen who works on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project. This week’s feature is dedicated to Refugio Rivas who is working on the Park to Playa Project.

Spotlight on Park to Playa: Park to Playa is a 13.2-mile trail connecting the Baldwin Hills to the Pacific Ocean via the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and the Ballona Creek Bike Path. This will be the first and only seamless walking and biking trail connecting the communities of South Los Angeles directly to the Pacific Ocean.

The project is just a few months away from completion, with the construction of a pedestrian bridge crossing over La Cienega Boulevard currently underway. The bridge will feature native landscaping to facilitate safe crossings for wildlife.

Fabricated bridge segments loaded onto truck for transportation. Photo courtesy of the Griffith Company

Meet Refugio Rivas. Refugio is from the South Central area of Los Angeles. He works for the Griffith Company which is one of California’s first general contractor companies.

Refugio has been working on this project for six months and serves as the Park to Playa Bridge Project Superintendent. His job is to supervise the day-to-day operations for the bridge segment of the Park to Playa Trail. He got into the industry by a friend when he was 18 years old — Refugio needed a job and it was good work. The thing that he enjoys the most is being able to build something different every day and working outside.

Refugio’s Perspective: The Park to Playa Bridge Project provides another access route to Hahn Park and completes the Park to Playa trail system. “The community will be able to walk from the park all the way to the ocean after we complete this project,” he said.

A typical day for Refugio: Most of Refugio’s time is spent supervising his fellow construction workers, specifically making sure they are safely following the established guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. He spends the rest of his time planning out each step of the project in order to keep the crew moving forward efficiently.

Refugio takes pride in being an essential worker because he believes that construction is important to keep the County moving forward and the work can still be completed safely. “Be safe out there. Think safe!” he said.