The City of Hanford has had a long history of not really addressing the needs of our local family in regards to sustaining and supporting “thriving” parks and family amusement structures, such as our once admired Adventure Park, The Rooseveldt Fort, and the YMCA family facility. Unfortunately, we lost these over the short years. So what do we have for our family as a source of structured entertainment? Not much. Please do count the Farmers Market, the small summer plunge, scattered City youth events and summer basketball and base-ball leagues. My intention is not to minimize these wonderful activities, but if you think about it, is it really all we can do as a City for our families? None of these count as the pro-active efforts of our City. They are just quick band aid fixes to ameliorate current public concern in the inadequacy to really address our lack of structured parks and family amusement entertainment.

Let’s look at Visalia, 30 years ago, with the help of pro-active visionary leadership, they created a wonderful array of social and family activities for their families. Their Downtown is a hub for both family and the young adults with fine restaurants and places for safe dancing. They have fine parks such as Riverway Park, Perry Family Park, Blain Park, Whitendale Park, Jefferson Park, Sunset Park , Kiwanis Park. These are relatively newer parks. Some were sponsored by local corporate businesses and clubs. Smaller cities, such as the City of Corcoran has just revamped their park development to include a skating and hockey rings. In addition, they recently received a grant award to improve their plans to include a multi-million dollar historical park to honor their veterans both past and present.

So what am I leading to in this article? I am proposing and taking into print the establishment of a much needed “Hanford City Parks Foundation”. A non-profit 501 © 3 private-public organization, separate from the City and County government, which will be modeled after the San Jose City Parks Foundation. Its ’purpose is to identify those park development interest of the general public to bring about both private and public funded family entertainment parks to our citizens of Hanford and neighboring towns. It will and can work collectively with our City and County government in bringing into community well- funded and maintained parks and family entertainment.

The motive is not to supplant current efforts, but to bring about enhanced opportunities for our children, our schools, our elderly and involved families. I will start working on this non-profit organization now and invite all those interested community corporate and public leaders to join me in this effort to make it happen! I am a long time resident of both San Jose and Hanford and been an active leader in both communities; I will be working closely with San Jose Parks Foundation, Director, James Reber, to visit our City and wonderful community leaders in seeing how successful, working together, to bring the same kind of corporate and public support for our residents

Alfred Benavides, MPA

Hanford Resident

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