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Lakewood State of  the City Luncheon

By Tammye McDuff

The State of the City luncheon was held Monday, January 25th and included the premiere of Lakewood’s annual report video produced by the city’s award-winning City TV team, Mayor Jeff Wood noted, “It is always fun and informative!”  This year, the video documented an outbreak of “selfie madness” where hundreds of residents took photos of themselves at parks, events and other happenings throughout Lakewood. Wood followed with the theme, showing selfie photos he had taken with residents around town during his first year as mayor.

Wood highlighted new park projects coming to Lakewood in the year ahead, including a new Airplane-themed playground at Del Valle Park and a side-by-side playground for kids and fitness area for adults at Rynerson Park.

Del VallePark, is building a new playground that will have an airplane-theme to match the jet plane and memorial.  The play area will have a replica airplane, along with a control tower and landing strip.  “It should leave kids smiling, shouting, running around, and using their imagination for generations to come,” said Wood.

Rynerson Park, won out in a special selection process receiving a significantly reduced price for a combined fitness and play area that enables parents and children to exercise and play near each other.  Lakewood will be one of the first cities to get this innovative design promoting healthy families and communities.

Wood noted, “Part of the beauty of Lakewood comes from the original design and planning that took place in the 1950s, when land was set aside to build a neighborhood park in every section of the city. The original plan was that every child would have a park within walking distance of their home, and usually right across the street from their school, to make it easy to play in a safe place. We’ve worked diligently as a city over the years to keep our parks in good shape.  And I’m proud that — right now — we’re in the middle of the biggest park improvement effort we’ve had since our city’s founding.”

Captain Allen Castellano of the Lakewood Sheriffs Station provided a public safety update. He talked about the continuing value of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign and how Lakewood residents have taken it to heart.

“Lakewood residents are great about reporting unusual activity in their neighborhoods to the Sheriff’s Department,” Castellano said, “which last year led to many cases where burglary suspects were arrested.” Several of these residents were honored by the city this past November at the annual Award of Valor luncheon.

In other news, the Lakewood City Council approved a second reading and final approval to amend zoning rules allowing the Lakewood Center Mall to hold outdoor events such as a weekly Farmers Market and periodic events like a Pumpkin Patch in October. The Farmers Market is set to start in March of 2016.

Also, Savannah DeMelo from Saint Joseph High School will be honored as the 2016 Lakewood Youth Hall of Fame Athlete of the Year at the Hall of Fame’s 35th annual induction banquet on Monday, February 29 at The Centre at Sycamore Plaza.  At just 18 years old, DeMelo is an established international soccer star. In 2015 she captained the U.S. Women’s National U20 (under 20 years old) Team through World Cup Qualifying in Honduras. Her leadership drove the team to the CONCACAF Championship overtaking Canada in the finals with a hard-fought one-to-nothing victory. She’s been offered a scholarship to the University of Southern California, among other notable colleges.