Lawndale’s new Rudolph Park offers a walking trail and water-play area. Less than six weeks after the death of beloved Lawndale City Council veteran Larry Rudolph, his name was hoisted over a new park described as one of the city’s “crown jewels.”
Rudolph Park, a 1.5-acre grassy refuge with a walking trail, a children’s rock-climbing wall and water-play area, was dedicated over the weekend near Hawthorne Boulevard and 147th Street.
It is the third park in the tiny city bisected by the 405 Freeway at the center of the South Bay. Officials decided to turn the vacant lot at 14725 Larch Ave. into a park because open space is such a premium in town.
“It’s the crown jewel of the city,” Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles said. “We keep getting these crown jewels. The community came together to put together different amenities they wanted to see in the park.”
In recent years, the city opened a new community center and library inside at its Civic Center plaza.
Rudolph Park was developed by he Trust for Public Land and From Lot to Spot after hearing what residents wanted at a series of community meetings. It was financed by a state Park Development and Community Revitalization grant funded through Proposition 84.
“Children and families created colorful mosaics used to adorn various areas, including a climbing wall, the children’s water play area and the park’s entry plaza,” said Nadia Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for From Lot to Spot. “From Lot to Spot has been on the forefront of the environmental justice movement in Los Angeles and has developed a number of new parks and community gardens in other South Bay cities, including Hawthorne and Lennox.”
Lawndale opened its second park — Charles B. Hopper Park at 4418 W. 162nd St. — in 2009.
Council members decided to name the park after Rudolph in the days following his April 10 death. Rudolph, who served on the City Council for 30 years and was active in coaching youth sports, was a heart transplant recipient who struggled for months with complications from a bacterial infection.
“I think Larry Rudolph would be very pleased with the park,” Pullen-Miles said. “He worked very hard to provide services for families and children, in particular. So, to see children enjoying the park, he would be smiling.”