After more than 25 years of parking on an old dirt lot filled with potholes that is dangerous for children, the fans and youth athletes at Carl E. Nielsen Youth Park in Westchester now have a beautiful paved parking lot —Ýand just in time for the start of the new Little League season.
Thanks to Playa Vista, which donated thousands of dollars and whose employees donated countless hours of work to the project, the newly paved parking lot will be dedicated Saturday, March 19th, at the youth park at the corner of Wiley Post and Will Rog-ers Streets.
The parking lot and the beginning of the new Little League season will be dedicated by Los Angeles City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, Los Angeles International Airport officials, community leaders and the Westchester Playa del Rey Youth Foundation, a nonprofit group sponsoring organized sports for youths.
The event will begin with a barbecue at noon and will continue with a ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. and an acknowledgement ceremony at 1:30 p.m. to thank all the volunteers who made the project possible. The public is invited to attend.
Westchester Playa del Rey Youth Foundation, which operates the youth park under a lease from Los Angeles World Airports, faced major fines from the Air Quality Management District if the parking lot were not paved.
There was no money in the budget for the construction, valued at more than $100,000, so Youth Foundation leaders found a volunteer way to make it work.
No money from the various youth athletics programs that use the site was used, and no money was borrowed from local institutions.
Instead, volunteers worked on the project and solicited donations and additional volunteers from Playa Vista, the architectural and design firm AC Martin, Catellus, the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey and the Westchester Vitalization Corporation to make the project a reality.
In addition, David Kissinger, Miscikowski deputy for airport relations, and the councilwoman were also instrumental in guiding the project through the permitting process.
Nielsen Field is an important institution, as more than 2,000 youngsters participate in organized sports at the site every weekend.
The field is one of very few sports facilities in an area with high demand.
In fact, some kids were unfortunately turned away from AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) soccer last year due to lack of space.
ELKS CITIZEN OF YEAR —
Longtime Westchester developer Howard Drollinger will be honored by the Westchester Elks Club as Citizen of the Year Friday, March 18th, at the Elks Lodge, 8025 Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey,
Dinner is planned at 6:30 p.m. and the ceremony at 8 p.m. Dinner is $10, but those wishing to attend only the ceremony will be admitted free.
“Howard Drollinger is being honored for his long history of community service,” said D.A. “Curt” Curtiss, Westchester Elks member.
Drollinger’s mother, Ella, built the first commercial building in the Westchester Business District, the Jim Dandy Market, in 1944.
In 1947, Drollinger opened his own development and property management company, the H.B. Drollinger Co., which for the past 58 years has developed and improved the Westchester Central Business District.
The company now manages more than 1,350,000 square feet of commercial space that ranges from office and retail uses to car rentals and airport parking lots.
Drollinger has been a member of the Rotary Club of West-chester since 1952 and served as club president in 1974-75.
He also served as president of the Westchester/LAX Chamber of Commerce and has offered his service and financial support to many local organizations, including Loyola Marymount University, the Westchester Family YMCA, University of Southern California, the former Daniel Freeman Hospital and Union Rescue Mission.
He has also served as a member of the City of Los Angeles Board of Zoning Appeals and is a founding member of the Westchester Vitalization Corporation.
He is a longtime member and supporter of the Airport Marina Counseling Service.
The father of two, Drollinger and his wife, Margaret, are residents of Westchester.
He flew 50 successful combat missions as navigator in a B-24 Liberator in the 15th Air Force in Italy during World War II.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, four air medals and a Presidential Unit Citation while serving in the Army Air Force.
He is a 1947 graduate of USC and a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity.
BYE-BYE, JIM DANDY —
Bill Allen and HFH Ltd., have announced that they will be building a new Bed, Bath & Beyond store in the heart of the Westchester Business District.
The new two-story, 40,000-square-foot location will be built south of Wells Fargo Bank on the east side of the street to 89th Street.
Tenants, including the Korner Deli, were notified in December that they would have to vacate by Wednesday, June 1st, so the demolition process could start.
In order to build the new Bed, Bath & Beyond store, the company will be demolishing the first building ever built in the Westchester Central Business District, which originally housed the Jim Dandy Market in 1947.
HFH Ltd. will retain an additional 10,000 square feet on two levels. The firm’s corporate offices will occupy the 5,000-square-foot second-floor location on the corner of Sepulveda Boulevard and 89th Street.
The ground-level space will be leased to another tenant.
JUNIOR OLYMPIANS —
The Westchester Family YMCA swim team, the Westchester Orcas, sent six of its swimmers to the Short Course Junior Olympic Championships in Long Beach Thursday through Sunday, March 10th to 13th.
The swimmers had to meet tough USA Swimming time standards in order to qualify.
Teresa Lincoln, 13, Zachary Lew, 12; Collette Gulick, 12; and Angella Chen, 11, qualified in individual events.
Gulick and Chen joined teammates Samantha Lambour, 12, and Hayley Hincks-Martinez, 11, in a medley relay.
The Westchester Orcas took third place in the 2005 Southern California YMCA Swimming League championships, a league composed of about a dozen swim teams.
The meets are USA Swimming-sanctioned. USA Swimming is the official sanctioning body of the U.S. Olympic swim team.
MEMORIAL — A graveside funeral service for Clyde Grant was held on Saturday, March 12th, at the Inglewood Park Cemetery. Also, a Memorial Service for him was held on Saturday, March 12th, at the Westchester United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that Clyde’s friends give donations to the Westchester United Methodist Church or to the Westchester Family YMCA Youth Programs.