Hip hip hooray! The track at Jackie Robinson Stadium, which has been closed for a $2 million renovation since March, is finally set to reopen on Monday, Sept. 21. Workers were there today hosing the dust off the metal bleachers to make them sparkle like the rest of the facility, which now boasts a completely new red track surface, with crisp white lane and numbers, and an artificial grass infield ready for a new football season.
Runners, joggers and walkers are welcomed back on Monday, but a sign says ‘no soccer!’ I’m not sure if this is only a temporary injunction – so if anyone knows when soccer can come back, please leave a comment.
For those who’ve never dropped by there, it would be hard to explain the role the track plays in the community. Every morning, from dawn until the sun’s too hot, it attracts a parade of regulars ranging from super-athletes to the short-bus crowd from the local school for the disabled. Everybody gets their exercise. Talk about a community health program. A lot of the people who come are older folks who walk the track in convivial groups, shouting and visiting and lingering. Some of them have kept coming during the long six months of closure, walking the concrete path around the adjacent Rancho Cienega sports fields instead.
This morning, when I showed up to see if there was any news yet, an older lady shouted “Monday!” to me, pumping her fist in celebration. And official notices plastered on the fence confirmed it.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone, and that’s how it’s felt with the track locked up half the year. Now we know.
What: The track and field at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Where: Rancho Cienega Park and Sports Complex, 5001 Rodeo Road, just east of La Brea in southwest Los Angeles (zip: 90016). http://www.laparks.org/dos/reccenter/facility/ranchocienegaRC.htm