|City of Menifee, Riverside County and Brookfield Residential officials unveil the signage at the new Audie Murphy Ranch Sports Park.|
Hundreds of residents got to try out the park for the first time, enjoying all 12 acres of the facility, which includes baseball and soccer fields, a basketball court, skate park, playground and picnic areas. Built by developer Brookfield Residential as part of the Audie Murphy Ranch planned community, the park is open to the public and figures to be a popular recreational site for years to come.
Among the dignitaries attending the ceremony was Jeff Stone, the Riverside County Supervisor who oversaw this area when planning first began on the Audie Murphy Ranch development several years ago. Stone, and later current district Supervisor Marion Ashley, worked with Brookfield Residential and city officials to make the sports park a reality.
"What a fitting time to dedicate this park in honor of Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II," Stone said, recognizing the significance of the Memorial Day weekend and the man after whom the planned community is named.
In the center of where Murphy's ranch once stood, activites took place everywhere one looked. On the baseball field, members of Menifee Valley Little League's Challenger program played the first game (below left). Beyond the outfield fence, soccer players demonstrated their skills while youngsters enjoyed face painting and a balloon artist. There were also bounce houses and a rock climbing wall.
Although some youth are disappointed that bicycles are not allowed, dozens of skaters raced to the park with skateboards and Razor scooters.
"I tried skateboarding, but I like the Razor because it's different," said Andrew Iniguez, 17, as he watched the opening ceremonies surrounded by several other skaters. "I've already been over to the skate park. I love it. Everything is perfect -- the rails, the mini bowls, everything."
Iniguez said he and his friends have had to go to Murrieta or Riverside to find a skate park in the past.
"We tried to make a petition to get a skate park in Canyon Lake before," said Corey Funk, 17. "This park is great. I just think bikes should also be allowed."
Robert Lennox, community services director for the City of Menifee, said the decision not to allow BMX or other bikes in the skate park is consistent with the regulations of other cities, as well as guidelines set forth by the National Parks and Recreation Association and the California Parks and Recreation Society.
"Safety is the priority," Lennox said. "We do allow hard-wheel Razors, but the larger items like the bicycles reach higher speeds and it can be dangerous."
Helmets are required for skaters in the park -- although that was a challenge to enforce on Saturday, when some in the large crowd showed up without them. Use of elbow and knee pads are recommended. The skate park is open from dawn until the lights go off at 9 p.m.
|Skaters showed off their moves as a large crowd gathered to watch on Saturday.|
|The new skate park got high marks from local youths who say they will be there often.|
|Youth soccer players displayed their skills in the large field at the center of the park.|