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Mayor's Summer Night Lights program expands to 8 more L.A. parks

June 28, 2010 |  2:17 pm

Late-night recreation programs will be added to eight more parks in Los Angeles next week as part of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Summer Night Lights program, city officials said Monday.

Appearing in Highland Park, Villaraigosa said he had secured another $2.1 million in private contributions, mostly from philanthropic foundations, to increase the size of the initiative. The program, which is part of his strategy for tackling gang crime, will have 24 recreation centers, up from 16 last year, that will stay open until midnight four nights a week from July 7 to Sept. 4.

The mayor said the program, which is staged in some of the city’s more dangerous neighborhoods, helped crime to fall last summer to its lowest level in 40 years. “It should be at every park in every neighborhood, but we just don’t have the resources to do that,” he added.

Of the more than two dozen donors, the two biggest were the Weingart Foundation and the Wells Fargo Foundation. The program will provide athletic, music and arts programs in neighborhoods such as Watts, Boyle Heights and Cypress Park.

The initiative also assigns gang intervention workers to ensure that there are cease-fires at the recreation sites and in the surrounding community during the summer, according to the mayor’s office.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall