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LOCALS AT PLAY CENTRAL PARK DRAWING RAVES IN TIME FOR SPRING.

Byline: Patricia Farrell Aidem Staff Writer

SAUGUS - The new Santa Clarita Central Park, touted for first-rate playing fields, also has some hidden treasures, a giant chessboard, walking trails and a pond.

So far, the reviews are exemplary.

``This is cool!'' shrieked 5-year-old Tyler Alvarado, running through a maze of playground fun Friday morning.

Under glorious blue skies, about a dozen moms and tots gathered at the park playground, testing out new toys, while parents nodded approval.

City parks officials expect crowds at the Bouquet Canyon Road park today, with the first nice weekend weather since the park opened two weeks ago. After three weekends of rain, sunny skies are due today and Sunday with local temperatures reaching a mild 64 to 70 degrees.

``It's beautiful. We waited for so long for the park to be ready and now that we're here, it's great,'' said Jodee Schantz, who pushed a jogging stroller through the park, with 3-year-old Nathan taking in the views.

The 140-acre, $5 million park boasts walking trails with spectacular views, perfectly manicured playing fields - four for softball and four for soccer and football - a river-like drainage system with small foot bridges and the crowded playground.

The opening coincided well with the final days before spring. Gentle slopes are covered in lush grass, perfect for kite flying, said Todd Green, grateful his grocery store stocking hours had switched to evenings.

``When you think about it, there aren't a lot of good places to fly kites anymore,'' he said. ``This is perfect, it's great.''

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2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) Steven Eckert of Saugus, 12, rides his skateboard over the giant chessboard at Santa Clarita Central Park on Friday.

Joe Binoya/Special to the Daily News

(2 -- color) Cameron Yarbrough, 1, and mom LaShawn enjoy the swings at the new park.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 11, 2000
Words:302
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