Silverado Park the OG park of the Westside; located on Santa Fe Ave. near Stephens Middle School, the park has been here since the 1930s and has always had a good flow of people. While not the most massive park in the city (that would probably go to El Dorado Park located on the other end of the city at Studebaker), Silverado is still pretty large, clocking in at 11.8 acres of good ol’ fashion grass, concrete and sand.
If the massive park ground isn’t enough to satisfy your physical demands and needs, then fret not: Silverado also has many facilities available to cater specifically to the surrounding community. As posted in the picture, there is a high-end indoor swimming pool and programs that go along with it (there are swimming lessons available amongst other swimming activities). Along with swimming, park goers can also access and utilize tennis courts, basketball courts (always some mad competition here), a recreational center (filled with video games, board games, etc.), a fitness center with some workout equipment, many sections of open grass fields (for soccer, footbal, etc.), and even a skatepark!
The skatepark, being the newest addition to the park ground, is a much needed addition to the area. The Westside of Long Beach most definitely has a sizable population of skaters, and giving these people (primarily youth) a place to come together and practice allows them to stay out of trouble; private property ends up staying preserved and skaters get to know each other (or hate each other, whatever). Before this skatepark opened, some skaters used to congregate at the back of the Westside Church. Every Friday, the church would set up some ramps, half-pipes and rails and prepare cheap $1 hot dogs and drinks for the skaters. This was primarily done to help keep the youth off the streets and it also allowed the youth to channel their energies productively into their passion. Most definitely a win-win situation!
Silverado Park, for all the greatness and opportunities that it provides, can still be a dark place. Despite the fact that the park is celebrated and utilized by the surrounding communities, there is still much sketchy business that takes place at the park on the daily. There have been multiple gang shootings here (Bloods and Crips) and the place definitely transforms by nightfall. Youth are always advised to avoid the area at night because of the gang, drug, and other illegal activities that take place here out of the public eye. Nevertheless, the park ground still sees popular usage on the daily from both the good and the bad alike. This ultimately serves as a reminder that every space is re-imagined by every individual which makes the potential for any landscape limitless. As for me, I like to imagine and believe that Silverado is a dope park — give it a visit during the daytime if you’re ever around and soak in some of the vibes from the Westside!