Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

I visited Santa Ana’s Santiago Park again this weekend, on Sunday, Feb. 14.  I wanted to see if indeed the brush had been cleared.  It was also my intention to follow up on what Santa Ana Police Department Chief Paul Walters told me last week, about his department’s increased effort to arrest perpetrators of lewd conduct.

On the positive side, the wildflowers are blooming.  And yes, much of the shrubbery and trash has been cleared.  And while I was there I observed a Santa Ana park ranger, checking the area.

On the negative side, I was aghast at the explosion in graffiti at the park.  You will see all of that in the slide show above.  I also found numerous condom wrappers.  How long they have been there is a mystery, but they were on the south side of the river, not far from the eastern playground at the park.

From Santiago Park

I also found numerous fetid pools of water, and the hiking trail south of the tennis courts was almost intraversible.  There were deep ruts, likely caused by a City maintenance truck or a contractor.  The ruts were filled with muddy water.  These fetid pools can cause an increase in the mosquito population, spreading disease such as the West Nile Flu.

From Santiago Park

I also took a close look at a few city properties within the park that are grossly under-used.  The Lawn Bowling Center is a prime example of this.  It is an immense tract of two fields and a gigantic clubhouse.  It appears to be barely used.  I have seen folks using it at times.  They are all elderly and white.  Do these people even live in town?

From Santiago Park

Santa Ana is the youngest city in Orange County, which is to say that we have more kids under 18 than any other city in our County.  We are woefully short on park space.  Should we really be using this area for an anachronistic sport that most folks in town have never heard of?  Seems like a waste.  Shouldn’t we look at adding more soccer fields or baseball diamonds?  Or handball or basketball courts?

From Santiago Park

There is also a beautiful Nature Center that was never completed.  The City ran out of money.  The building is done, but is still surrounded by temporary fencing.  It is a sad sight.

On a more positive note, the giant slides on the east side of the compound, by the police dog training facility, are in great shape.  They are a lot of fun!

From Santiago Park

The City also maintains an archery range that is a neat idea but is also barely utilized.

I think a bmx bike area or a skate park would have been preferable to the barricaded Nature Center.

Part of the problem is that there is a development committee at this park that does not answer to the local residents.  It is chaired by Don Cribb, a resident who also maintains a home in Culver City.  He is usually not home in Santa Ana.  He has no kids and his ideas are not friendly to families.

From Santiago Park

I have heard Cribb advocate for smaller picnic tables, which is ridiculous.  We need more family sized tables, if anything.  He also pushed for the stone monuments you will see in the slide show above.  I always thought those were a waste of money and an invitation to taggers to have a field day.

If this committee is still in existence, we need to make sure that families are represented and that Latinos are on the committee as well.  This is a great park, but there is much to be done yet.  In particular it is sad to see all the graffiti, and to see so many resources go under-utilized.

From Santiago Park

And we obviously still have a problem with lewd conduct at the park.  I am going to write to the City Council tonight and urge them to consider my proposal to install lights with motion detectors, along the northern bike trail; security cameras; and signage indicating that lewd conduct is illegal and won’t be tolerated in our park.

I encourage you, our readers, to do the same.  Click here to contact the Santa Ana City Council.  Click here to contact Councilman Carlos Bustamante, who represents the Santiago Park area.  You can contact City Manager Dave Ream’s assistant, Mark Lawrence, at

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

15 thoughts on “A walking tour of Santiago Park turns up lot of graffiti”
  1. We love our park, but yes, there are a lot of problems. The condom wrappers and the graffiti are two big ones. However, there are some other problems that I’m not so sure you are willing to take on, Art. The park gets an excessive amount of use on the weekends. Families come to have large birthday parties and generally trash the place. They leave party decorations, hundreds of candy wrappers, streamers and dangerous popped balloons all over the place. The neighborhood kids arrive with the nannies and parents every Monday to a playground strewn with a massive amount of junk. Could it possibly be that the lawn bowlers actually maintain the property and keep it clean and we can’t really count on that happening with a large portion of our population that seems to have no regard for cleanliness and aesthetics? I’m sure I will be lambasted as racist for even suggesting that this is a problem. The last time I took some kids to the park on the weekend, there was a group of parents sitting at the picnic tables while their kids ran wild, throwing sand into the eyes of any child near them. When I firmly asked one kid who couldn’t have been more than three and was wearing only a diaper to stop poking kids with a tree branch, he screamed an obscenity in Spanish directly at me. The parents didn’t pay a bit of attention and I quickly became the person that their children ran to when they felt someone had done something wrong, as if I was the playground supervisor. If we want more open space, parks and nice areas for our kids, maybe the adult population needs to learn that there is a responsibility that comes with having nice things.

  2. I remembered there being an archery range at Santiago Park that I passed on a bike ride once years back with my kids…today my daughter is 13 and when she expressed a special interest in persuing her several tries at archery (at various camps) I looked into seeing if the range is still open at Santiago. What I found here in pictures and comments is sad but not surprising..the cities of Orange and Santa Ana have really gone down the tubes over the past 25 year I have lived in them. Honestly, we left Santa Ana for many reasons alluded to in the above comment. It was ok for a few years but now our parks have been commandeered by untold number of people who have little respect and do not used the facilities as they are intended ( I gave up trying to play tennis at Hart Park due to “unfriendlies” using it for soccer and other activities..I got looked like I was from Mars when I walked up with my racquet). It is so sad to me..loud music, trash everywhere..and the same is absolutely true of weekends at Irvine Park. I love my 2 communities- I have lived In Santa Ana or Orange my entire adult life, as well as taught school in both districts. However, I, like so many people I know, do not like the direction things are going. What was a perfect dream…to raise my mixed-race kids in communities that represented the best of the “real” world….is now a huge disappointment. I would re-locate in a heart beat if I thought there was truly any where we could go that we could go in the US that isn’t starting to resemble the awful downturn in economics, education and quality of living here…SO SAD!!!

    1. anon,

      The range is still there. It is kept in good shape and is still used by archery enthusiasts.

      The real problem at Santiago Park is perverts who lurk on the trails.

      BTW, the tennis courts at Santiago Park are still there and are in good shape. Not used much.

      My suggestion to the City is to build a skate park in that area to give youngsters something to do, instead of tagging.

  3. It is very ignorant of Art Pedroza to go out of his way to make note of the users of the Lawn Bowling Green to be elderly and white. Then he goes further out of his way to ask if these elderly, white people are even from the area. This is reverse racism that is suppose to be ignored because it is coming from someone who is hispanic. Imagine if someone in a city with a high majority of a White poulation commented that there were Mexicans using a park in this said city and then continued to question if they should be able to use this facility because it looks like they aren’t from around there. Santiago Park is a specialized park with unique features that sets it apart from other parks. The facilities mentioned such as the Archery Range and the Lawn Bowling Green is of great value to the community and to “elderly white people” and other people from neighboring communities. I bet there are people in the neighborhood that feel that the influx of Mexican’s using the park from outside the immediate community do not belong. Do you agree with that Arturo?

    1. Chris,

      Santiago Park is NOT a County Park. It is a City of Santa Ana Park. I spoke to a Parks and Rec Commissioner last week. He verified that by far the majority of the Santiago Park lawn bowlers do NOT live in our city.

      Our parks should serve OUR residents. If the rest of you want a facility like this go talk to your County Supervisor and see if they can build one at a County facility, such as Irvine Park.

  4. Admin,
    Perhaps you should push for security guards to be posted at all entrances to the park to insure that all park user are “our residents”. God forbid these white elderly people overrun our neighborhood.
    If the lawn bowling is eliminated and we build a couple of soccer fields, who do you think will be attracted? One large group that will be attracted is a large Hispanic population which includes many illegal aliens. They love soccer. I hope you consider illegal aliens not “our residents” either.
    Illegal aliens are not “our residents” and I hope you also push for a ban on them as well.

    1. Chris,

      The migrants you are referring to pay taxes here in Santa Ana. Their kids go to our schools and are often citizens of this country.

      I have never suggested that soccer fields be installed at the lawn bowling center. I think we should use it for a dog park or a skateboard/bmx park. Using it to entertain old people who do not live here or pay taxes here is beyond ridiculous.

  5. Admin,
    Please re-read what I posted previously. Did I say migrant or did I say illegal aliens?
    I understand the difference and I hope you do as well. I was clearly referring to “illegal aliens” because I clearly mentioned “illegal aliens”. Illegal aliens are here illegally and are not legally suppose to have social security cards in their name. Therefore, inherently, they do not pay taxes. Illegal aliens drain billions of dollars yearly in public services that they have no right to access. On the contrary to what you say, illegal aliens do make our school systems worse. That is a fact. Santa Ana has the highest illegal alien population in Orange County. Do you think it is just a coincidence Santa Ana has the worst school system in Orange County? Do you think it is just a coincidence Santa Ana has the worst gang and crime problems in Orange County as well? I do not think it is “old people” you need to worry about. These “old people” you want to ban have paid a lifetime of taxes. Many I’m sure have served our country in wars. These “old people” have every right to use Santiago Park whether they are from Santa Ana, Irvine or Palm Springs. Your argument about “entertaining old people that don’t pay taxes” is kinda lame. It is lame because in your own words you are advocating a skateboard/bmx park. Most skateboarders and bmx’s are going to be kids. How many kids out there do you know that pay taxes? With your logic, your idea is equally as ridiculous, if not more.

  6. Not to fear, I saw the SAPD Mounted Unit at the park. They are back!!! They did a great job a couple of years back,

  7. By the way,,who do you think “uses” the park at night??? They are not all from Santa Ana they also come from other cities to find other males for sex…….and lots of them are “illegal aliens” from MEJICO!!! NO SE PUEDE!!!

    1. I have seen all sorts of men lurking there. It is quite a multi-cultural mix. I am glad to hear the SAPD mounted units are back. That should help stop this!

  8. I tell ya….I’ve been using the park since I was a kid…..and yeh, now it’s perv central. White pervs??? Neh….all Mexicans. The Lawn Bowling facility is not part of the park….and if the “Mexicans” want to get a job and step up, maybe they can get a membership too….otherwise, this article and most of the posts…sans Chris….are idiodic and as EXPECTED culturally biased trash. Lots of kids under 18 in the city huh??? Close your f’n legs Santa Ana and a lot of that will change!!!!

  9. I’m not sure when Art wanders through the park, but every time I go to the archery range there are other archers there. Archery is a great past time suitable for men, women, children and all races. There are very few public archery ranges left in S. CA. Surely every park doesn’t need golf courses, baseball diamonds and soccer fields, all of which take up lots of space and use tons of water to maintain. CA has enough of those already.

    The best way to keep the darker elements out of the park is for the public to come out and use them in healthy ways.

  10. How about a public skateboard facility (in the old shuffle board area)? Also Offering lessons to the youth on skateboarding and safety. With a program like that, the negative crowd could be less Likely to poison the area and negatively influence the younger crowd. There isn’t anything like this in Santa ana, nor a skateboard shop and could be huge for the at risk youth.

  11. I don’t want to foot the bill for the incredible amount of insurance and liability a skate park would incur. That would just open the personal injury suit floodgates to whoever make a quick million and instead of pervs you’d have ambulance chasing attorneys lurking about. (I’m undecided as to which is worse.) I have two more observances: 1. It is a natural retreat of an island in a vast asphalt and concrete region. Nothing will change that fact but over use will negatively affect its health. 2. There isn’t enough room for one soccer field and accommodating parking let alone the rest of the grandiose delusions spewed out in the previous posts. Let it be.

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