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  • McKinley Park Restoration
    Updated On: Aug 28, 2015

    The California Endowment issued a CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) grant to refurbish portions of McKinley Park at El Dorado and 8th St in Stockton, Ca. Portions of these funds are distributed through the San Joaquin County Probation Department.

    Youth members from Camp Peterson at the San Joaquin County Juvenile Justice Center were encouraged to help design a program to clean up and refurbish parts of McKinley Park, with members from the community. They decided on a slogan for their efforts. “To Achieve, You Have to Believe”.

    The idea was to pick up trash, paint over graffiti on park tables and benches remove and replace a severely weathered basketball court and have a mural painted on the west wall of the community center. Clean up, repair and reopen the community swimming pool and community center.

    It was going to be a lot of work and a celebration of completing two phases was also in the planning. In the early stages, members of the Data Co-Op, JJC Camp Peterson youths, San Joaquin County Building Trades, Ironworkers Local #118, Operating Engineers Local #3, IBEW Local #595, Sheet Metal Workers Local #104, Carpenters Local #152, Stockton City Council, YMCA, Fathers & Families, volunteered to help picking up trash, and painting the park tables and benches free of graffiti.

    While back at Camp Peterson, the youth members tossed around ideas to have a basketball tournament / health fair on the new basketball court to commemorate the completion of the first phase and an unveiling of the mural to commemorate the second phase of completing the mural. They drew up the flyer artwork for the CPTED basketball tournament and mural for the community center. The mural was decided by the Camp Peterson youths when they were asked to study the biographies of 30 civil rights leaders, from past and present, and choose 4 of those leaders to represent the thoughts of the community. A 5th civil rights leader was chosen with no name or face, to show that any one who wanted to “Rise Up” and lead, could place themselves in that mural.

    Operating Engineers Local #3, Business Manager Nathan Tucker took on the challenge to remove and replace the severely weathered basketball court. Nathan summoned volunteers from his local, contracted Tiechert Construction, George Reed & Paul Vaz Trucking who donated their efforts, to bring in their heavy equipment to remove and replace the damaged basketball court. Volunteers from Ironworkers local #118 painted the new lines.

    Members from all these organizations did community outreach and handed out hundreds of flyers in the community. The excitement of such an event began to grow throughout the community. Men, women and children of all ages called to inquire about the upcoming event. Many of them wanted to be in the basketball and handball tournaments.

    On Saturday March 28, 2015 members of the JJC Camp Peterson youth, San Joaquin Data Co-Op and Organized Labor came together to present a CPTED 3 X 3 Basketball Tournament, singles Handball Tournament and Health Fair at McKinley Park.

    One of the major threads in this program, IBEW Business Representative Sam Kharufeh spent many hours helping to organize this event.

    On the day of the event, Ironworker volunteer Jim Mulligan started early morning sign ups, which made up 16 basketball teams and 21 handball participants. Ironworker BA Mike Berry and Ironworker Apprenticeship Coordinator Jason Rafter brought enough Ironworker apprentices to make 2 teams. 7 teams were made up of McKinley Park residents eager to compete. 2 teams were made from members of the Camp Peterson youth. Other teams were made up of Union Electricians, Sheet Metal Workers, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Operating Engineers, American Federation of Government Workers, Law Enforcement and Stockton City Council. Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva and Stockton Vice Mayor Christine Fugazi came with their own teams, to demonstrate they too can compete.

    Everyone came early to help set up tables and chairs. Volunteers brought pop up tents which added lots of color to the event. Stephanie Charbonneau from the San Joaquin Data Co-Op and husband Sheet Metal Worker Chris Charbonneau began installing new red, white and blue basketball nets on the new basketball court and distributed new NBA pro basketballs to early goers for a shoot around while volunteers continued setting up. Volunteers began bringing in bottled water and ice donated by the Stockton Emergency Food Bank. Operating Engineers Local 3 volunteers brought delineators to help the Stockton PD with traffic.

    Sheet Metal Workers, BA Matt Richards was Master of Ceremonies and opened the festivities while Teamsters member Veronica Diaz recited in Spanish. Camp Peterson youth members spoke to the public in English and Spanish on the meaning of the event and gave thanks to all for coming. David Uriarte from Mirage Entertainment brought his PA and sound system for announcing and playing music during the event. Vice Mayor Chritina Fugazi and City of Stockton Sue Christi gave thanks and appreciation to all in the opening ceremonies. Sammy Nunes founder of Father’s and Families and California Peace Prize recipient gave thanks to every one and said how much it meant to the community. Edison High School Principal, Brian Biedermann and choir director Mel Sugiutan, volunteered their Honor Choir to sing our nation’s national anthem to begin the games. The YMCA Sport Director Josh Branco, donated professional referees to officiate the games. Stephanie Charbonneau and Campbell Bullock from San Joaquin Data Co-Op began to organize the handball tournament adjacent to the basketball tournament. Ironworker Russ Kelly stepped up to announce the play-by-play basketball tournament. Ironworkers Dan Koenig and Ron McIntosh were tournament score keepers and time keepers. Michelle Tomscak from American Medical Response provided an ambulance and EMT’s, just in case any player or member of the community was injured during tournament play.

    The games started at 10am, the joy and excitement from the crowd was unbelievable. The play on the court was fierce, but fair and continued to a 12 noon break for lunch. Daniel’s Catering and Octavio Cruces from Leadership Stockton and owner of Casa Flores Restaurants gathered with volunteers and prepared meals for the entire community, free!! Kandi Vargas and Val Shadowhawk brought their band of Native American drum and dance Young Eagle Spirits to center court for a spectacular celebration of music and dance. In conclusion they invited the entire community onto the court for a community round dance and song to share in the Native American spirit. The entire community, young and old, people from all walks of life walked out onto the court and took part in the celebration. Fathers and Families of San Joaquin had a drawing contest and prizes for the young kids who participated. Stockton Crime Stoppers, St Josephs Hospital, Dignity Health, Leadership Stockton, San Joaquin County Human Services Agency, YMCA all had booths set up so event attendees could ask and receive information about their programs.

    Tournament play resumed after lunch in fierce competition fashion and while every team wanted the tournament champion trophy, only two basketball teams and one handball individual would get that honor. The games concluded at 2pm. No one team gave an inch to the other, but in the end each of the teams were glad, exhausted and respected one another. 22 games were played in the basketball tournament and 16 games were played in the handball tournament. Alejandro “Lefty” took first place in the handball tournament winning 21 consecutive games. In the basketball tournament, Stockton Vice Mayor Christine Fugazi’s team took on all comers to take first place in the 1st winners bracket while Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva’s team took first place in the 2nd winners bracket. Who would have figured!!

    District 9, Congressman and Stockton resident Jerry McNerney closed the festivities by handing out the trophy’s to the winners and saying a few words of gratitude. “Congratulate yourselves, this is to you, the people, for coming together and creating so much good.”

    Many were heard saying as they left, they “had not seen such an event in south Stockton in many years.”

    The community swimming pool is now open and the water is nice and cold on these very hot days. The community center is now open and houses a gym, boxing arena and weight room. Instructors are on site each day to help anyone who would like to participate.

    The mural on the west wall of the McKinley Park Community Center is scheduled to begin production in early September - October 2015, by local artists Michael Oliva and Francisco Franco https://muralist.carbonmade.com.  The process of organizing a celebration for unveiling the mural to the community is also currently in progress. Stay tuned for updates.

    The many volunteers that started this project are still involved and continue to serve to keep McKinley Park clean, and a place for all families to enjoy. The San Joaquin Building Trades continue to support the Camp Peterson youths and strive to enrich their futures by welcoming them into their apprenticeships.

    Attached is a DropBox link, copy this link to your browser https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7izbjn59vlggwvu/AACnSLDOOjmHVjBJ7mu57EuTa?dl=0

    to view, download and/or save any or all the photos from this CPTED Handball / Basketball Tournament / Health Fair.

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