Monrovia, CA

Monrovia Parks Look for Long-Term Benefits with Online Fundraising Auction

Don Simkovich
Library Park Playground, a shade structure is one of the items needing fundingPhoto by MPWR Foundation, Inc.

Parks throughout Monrovia allow families to escape the urban sprawl of Los Angeles County, and volunteers with the Monrovia Parks Wilderness and Recreation Foundation (MPWR) are working to keep the parks fun and accessible.

“Parks feed our soul,” says Julie Bank, board member with the MPWR.

Raising Money for Monrovia Parks
Virtual auction flyerMPWR Foundation, Inc.

Bank is one of several volunteers promoting an online, or virtual auction, that takes place Sunday, July 18 to Friday, July 23. The auction site is available via the MPWR website and as its own branded url.

The goal is to raise money for items including:

  • Improved shade structures at the Library Park playground, $ 75,000; and Station Square Park playground, $ 45,000
  • Exhibit updates in the Canyon Park Nature Center, $ 25,000
  • Youth scholarships to offset the costs of fee-based programs, $ 5,000

The funding needs of eight different projects are described on the MPWR site.

Virtual attendees have dozens of options for bidding:

  • A cocktail party on the dam at Canyon Park
  • Gift baskets (including one from the City of Monrovia and the Monrovia Fire Department)
  • Works of art
  • Tickets for two to the Pasadena Film Festival
  • College consulting for high school students
  • Local dining
  • Health and beauty packages
  • And trips to Las Vegas, Disney World and a Napa Vineyards Farmhouse (with chauffer) getaway

Parks Enhance Monrovia

“Monrovia residents love the parks and the programs that are offered,” says Bank, “so we’re infusing the parks with new energy and money.”

Bank works professionally as director of animal services for Riverside County and says there’s a need to support and expand existing programs.

“We’re working with the city’s community services division to aid parks throughout the city like Lucinda Park and Rotary Park.”

Bank says the park are for everyone from youths to seniors and the foundation wants to ensure accessibility and maximize the enjoyment of each park’s environment.

The value of area parks took on greater importance after playgrounds were taped off 2020 due to Covid-19 and the Bobcat fire that tore through Monrovia Canyon Park destroying trees, burning structures and forcing an indefinite shutdown.
Canyon Park, Monrovia before the Bobcat FireMPWR Foundation, Inc.

City officials who have doing assessments of the environmental damage say “the hillsides within Canyon Park exhibit dangerous conditions like falling rocks and tree branches.” There’s no word on when the park will reopen.

The MPWR Foundation isn’t sitting idle. There are plans to revitalize the nature center, make the exhibits “more lively,” improve the interpretative signs and upgrade enclosures for the animals under care.
Canyon Park's natural beauty was heavily scarred by burned trees and structuresMPWR Foundation, Inc.

The Monrovia Park and Recreation Plan

In 2018, the city adopted a park master plan. Of the city’s 36,331 residents (2019, Census Bureau) there are 58% who live within a half mile of a park. The parks are popular with about 75% saying they visit a park at least once a month.

Canyon Park was one of the most popular along with Library Park and Recreation Park.

Most residents surveyed said the city had about the right ratio of parks-to-resident population, but a quarter of those surveyed said there could be more parks south of Huntington Drive.

Parks offer various benefits including active play.

A study of 3,000 people in Southern California during an 8-year period found that children who lived closer to parks had significantly lower rates of obesity at age 18 than those who did not. The study was quoted in an article by KCET on how Los Angeles ranked in parks.

Additional benefits of parks are found in the write-up Why Parks Matter by the City Parks Alliance.

The MPWR is taking a more active role in making parks a positive experience for Monrovia residents and visitors. The foundation originally launched in 2000 as the Monrovia Wilderness Preserve Foundation and has re-focused in the past year to support the parks along with the city’s related programs.

You can also follow the MPWR on its Facebook page.

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I interview entrepreneurs, and dig into the news around Southern California, giving a voice to business owners, artists and more. I also co-write the thriller novel series Tom Stone Detective Stories.

Pasadena, CA

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