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Downtown Pasadena Welcomes New Playhouse Village Park

Published on Monday, September 19, 2022 | 6:29 am

The excitement was palpable as neighbors, City officials and Van Halen fans converged for the grand opening of a new city park on Saturday morning.

After a week’s weather delay the years-in-the-planning, much-anticipated Playhouse Village Park opened to festivities on Sept. 17 that included pint-sized Van Halen look-alikes and no fewer than four past-and-present City Mayors.

The legendary Pasadena rock group Van Halen was honored at the event when the park’s Van Halen Stage was dedicated in the group’s honor.

The new park grounds reflect a setting in a dense urban neighborhood by combining “passive and active activities in close proximity,” said Lisa Derderian, the City’s Public Information Officer.

Brian Wallace, Executive Director of the Playhouse Village Association, said everyone in the District is thrilled that the park is finally opening.

“Our resident and business communities have waited patiently for this day,” he said. “There will finally be a place for the community to gather and call their collective home, and we are excited to have such an important role after all the great work done by the City to get us to this point.”

The new 1.04-acre park at 701 E. Union St. between El Molino Ave. and Oak Knoll Ave. includes a children’s play area, a dog run, a trellised structure over the sitting and stage area, lighted pathways, a restroom and storage building, and a 48-space parking lot. 

Following a city-wide survey in 2021, the City Council voted to name the park’s stage for the band that took its name from Eddie and brother Alex Van Halen, who formed the Pasadena-based band in 1972.

Van Halen went on to become one of the most successful bands in music history.  Eddie Van Halen died in October 2020 after a battle with cancer. The Van Halen family requested that the stage area be named for the entire Van Halen band instead of exclusively for Eddie Van Halen.  

For the Pasadena Village Association, the park’s opening will mean some extra work, since the group will be making sure that litter is collected, that restrooms are serviced, and that tables and chairs are set up during events that are expected to be frequent.

As part of a public-private partnership with the City, the Association’s Ambassador Guides will also be watching out for any maintenance issues that need to be taken care of, as well as adding a positive physical presence for visitors every day, Wallace said. But the group is just excited to have the park finally open.

“This park is a true gem in Pasadena, which will be easy to notice on your first visit,” Wallace said. “Every aspect of this park was carefully planned and designed, from the texture of the paving, the types and sizes of trees, the colors and styles of lampposts, and even the park entry signs – everything is unique to this park and its surroundings. When you think about it, it’s the first park built in the center of our city in many decades, so it was a chance to think about everything an urban park could be.”

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