Water was flowing in the fountain at Hillcrest Park for the first time in some 40 years.
And it was a hot day, so yeah, kids celebrated on Saturday, May 5, the repair of the historic fountain by splashing around in the water. The community also walked the lawn, enjoying the fresh green turf.
Both were projects originally built for the city by the Works Progress Administration, an agency borne out of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policy to move out of the Great Depression and get people employed by doing public works projects.
Hillcrest Park has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The fountain, built in the 1930s, hasn’t worked in since the 1970s. The distinctive stonework that surrounds the fountain has been restored, or in some places replaced with replica stone, and the fountain has new plumbing and a water re-circulation system.
And the impressive-for-the-time system of multicolored lights that illuminate the fountain shine again – updated with LED bulbs, said Hugo Curiel, the city’s director of parks and recreation.
The Great Lawn that spans out from the foot of the fountain is lush again – the city graded the expanse and planted a more hardy mix of grass, Curiel said.
“We have facilities that are for sports,” he said. “This is one that says come and spend some time here and relax. Read a book. Take your shoes off and enjoy the lawn.”
A bridge has been added over Brea Creek Channel that connects the front of the lawn to Harbor Boulevard.
The lawn and fountain restoration were the second phase of improvements the city is making to Hillcrest Park.
Last year, the city unveiled stairs connecting the 38-acre Hillcrest Park to Lions Field, a youth sports venue. The 467-step pine forest stairs, which cost $1.6 million, quickly became a popular exercise spot.
Later phases could include a lower picnic area and restoration of the duck pond, Curiel said. Staff members are considering proposals now.