Categorized | Commentary

Children need an active place to go in LH

Posted on 07 July 2016 by La Habra Journal

It’s that time of year again, summer.  The time where the weather is hot and kids are home from school looking for something to do. While I have lived in La Habra for most of my life, something didn’t really dawn on me until this year.  There’s not much for today’s kids to do within the city.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot for younger kids to do, the Children’s Museum and a variety of parks, most with newly installed equipment.  However, one of the things that the city is missing is an escape from the heat. Sure there is the LHHS pool, but what about another fun way for kids to enjoy the outside and stay cool. I’m referring to a splash pad.  Neighboring cities have built splash or water areas for children.  Fullerton has Lemon Park and the water at its Founder’s Square Plaza. La Mirada went beyond a splash pad and built a water park next to its community center. Even Brea has a little splash area on Birch Street.  La Habra? Not so much yet.
There are actually discussions within the city about a water area or splash pad at one or more of the parks.  The most likely location would be at Portola Park, a park that’s centrally located, and near other resources that families can enjoy.  They would also have to look at putting water areas on the edges of the city to make it convenient for all residents. Parks like Oeste and Estelli or Descanso would be good possible locations.
This will allow children a place to have fun and cool off.  It would also help drive more people to enjoy the parks in the city. However, water areas are a bit pricey. The city would have to look for grants and other financial sources to help fund the water projects.  Don’t be surprised if a water area does come into the city that a community-lead project like KaBoom would have residents volunteering with the city to create and build the water areas.  No matter how it gets done, I think water areas at some of the parks should be included on the short-term plans.
That, along with all the current amenities for children takes care of the younger kids in the city during the summer. Now, what about the tween and early teens in the city?  What is there for them to do in the city? Are you thinking? Did you come up with anything?  Aside from “hanging out” and going to the movies or bowling, there’s not too much for them to do.  So, many of them are plugging into computers or various electronics.
Now, I’m not here to condemn technology.  It’s fine, and kids are going to utilize it (as well they should because it will help them develop skills needed in today’s world). But they need alternatives.  The absence of anything else to do allows for kids to be bored and thus “plug in.”
With the city’s and the La Habra Collaborative’s push for “move more, eat healthy” to combat childhood obesity and make for a more active community, I’m surprised there’s not something for kids to do.
Yes, the city offers camps and so does The Boys and Girls Club and they are great (I went to many of these when I was a child).  But what about the kids who don’t want to go to those events?   Wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of trampoline center in the city? What about something similar to SkyZone in Anaheim or Rockin’ Jump in Santa Ana? That would allow an active alternative for kids and help them meet the city and Collaborative’s mission of getting kids moving more.
If you’re not familiar with these locations, they are indoor trampoline parks with jumping and activities like dodge ball, volleyball and basketball.  They keep kids busy in a fun environment.
Yes, La Habra used to have trampolines at the old miniature golf course on Whittier and Harbor and it used to have activities like a roller rink at Roller Madness on Whittier Boulevard near Beach.  But those places are long gone and there is nothing for kids to do anymore.
Maybe the Collaborative, city administrators and some of our commercial property owners can work together to find a suitable location and work to entice one of these fun centers to locate to La Habra.  This would create an active alternative for kids and help them get through the dog days of summer.

—The Editor

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