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- El Monte
Youth Voices is working with students from Mountain View High School to re-imagine the San Gabriel River and the surrounding communities. The student teams are exploring and investigating their communities by mapping assets, conducting outreach, and collecting stories through interviews with local residents and experts. Follow their work here, on Twitter @lady&gents_ and on Instagram by using #kcetyv.
Our number one focus is to help the El Monte community by building a dog park. Now it doesn't sound like much, but it takes quite a bit of doing. The location that we're thinking about is located on Valley Boulevard and Gilman Road. We have interviewed a few people, including a representative of the El Monte city government who gave us advice on what to do. We basically want the dogs of El Monte to enjoy a walk and be free to roam the dog park without a leash. However, it would not only be a dog park, but a multi-purpose area for families, too.
Minh Thai is the person we interviewed. He is the assistant director of the Economic Development and Revitalization Department for the City of El Monte. He didn't grow up in El Monte, but still has love for it.
We wanted to get in contact with somebody who knows about the city. So we left a few e-mails and voice mails at city hall and, sure enough, they put us in touch with Mr. Thai. He knew the location better than we did. For our interview we wanted to learn everything about the lot before we continued making plans for our project and the development of that particular vacant lot.
We shared with Mr. Thai our concern about the vacant lots in El Monte and our idea for a dog park in one of these lots. The dog park, we believe, would benefit not only dogs but residents and businesses in the surrounding area. He agreed that the park could help revitalize an area, but that we should consider the location of the dog park carefully to make sure people can get there easily, and that there are other places near-by that can benefit from, and promote, people using the park. Building it would take money, but the park can also create economic development by encouraging people to walk around and shop at local businesses.
One of the pieces of advice that he shared was that building a dog park shouldn't be our only focus; we should expand the variety of uses for that lot. For example, a basketball court, a jungle gym, and shady areas for people to hang around. The more it can relate to everyone of all ages, the more people will come and use the park for what it's supposed to be used for.
Stay tuned for more of Team Lady and Gents' interview with Minh Thai coming soon.