Riverside, California – June 30, 2022, Governor Newsom approved the State Budget, which includes $30,000,000 for capital improvements at the California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside, California.
When founded in 1993, the California Citrus State Historic Park was envisioned as a living outdoor historical museum that would tell the far-reaching story of the citrus industry – the people, business, economic and cultural impacts that transformed California in its early years and continues to do so today.
Ron Loveridge, former Mayor of the City of Riverside and President of the Friends, noted: “The State funding is a transformative opportunity that will finally properly memorialize the generations of working men and women who planted and picked oranges, who made industrial and technological advances in agricultural enterprise, who transformed California.”
To properly showcase the extensive citrus history, the General Plan adopted in 1989 envisioned having several facilities, including a workers’ camp bunkhouse, a packing house, the Western Engine pump facility, a grower’s residence and a bridge and pathway to connect all these features.
In recognition of the importance of these facilities in telling the full story, Assembly Member Cervantes and Senator Roth each put forward funding requests earmarked for capital improvements at the Park.
On behalf of the Friends of California Citrus Park, Ron expressed special thanks and appreciation to Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes and Senator Richard Roth for their strong advocacy in securing this funding to complete the capital improvements planned for the park.
“Trees alone cannot tell the stories of blood, sweat and tears, and the completion of these capital improvements will finally make the Citrus Park a living and breathing history museum,” said Mayor Loveridge.
Senator Roth commented: “Working together with the Friends of Citrus Park and Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, Team Roth was able to secure millions in state funding to develop the Park into the living outdoor historical museum it was envisioned to be. With these infrastructure funds, the Park will be able to tell the story of the many generations of Californians who planted, picked and processed citrus in the State, and developed the communities we are proud to call home. Congratulations!”
“Thanks to the advocacy of former Mayor Loveridge, the Friends of Citrus Park, and in close collaboration with my friend Senator Roth, I am excited to have helped secure this crucial funding that will serve generations of Riversiders, neighbors, and visitors for years to come,” Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes said. “This investment from our state budget is a testament to the value the Citrus Historic State Park adds to our region. With this funding, Citrus Park can fulfill its mission to educate visitors about the economic and cultural impacts of the citrus industry on California’s history, especially here in the Inland Empire. This includes uplifting the voices of our Mexican and indigenous communities, as well as Chinese and Japanese immigrants who worked in the industry and helped shape the future of our region and our Golden State.”
John Brown, Vice President of the Friends, noted: “By completing the Park's improvements, we can create experiences that enable visitors to not only enjoy the natural beauty of the Park, but also better understand the history of California's agricultural underpinnings. Telling the stories of workers, laborers and growers from around the world and their hard work and sacrifices helps us all better understand how the California dream was created.”
The Grower’s Residence will be a multi-use activity center and hub for the park allowing larger groups to convene for school programs, conferences, and events. The Workers’ Camp Bunkhouse will interpret citrus labor and provide a voice for the various native and migrant workers, highlighting how racial tension, cultural conflict and labor strife changed the cultural landscape over time.
The Citrus Packing House will interpret orange packing operations and how agricultural enterprises shaped business development, institutions of learning, transportation infrastructure, and industrial and technological advances.
The Western Engine, a 17-ton, 200 horsepower engine used to pump water to elevated reservoirs sets the stage for sharing the history of the development of irrigated agriculture as well as the conflicts surrounding water and water rights.
Greg Neal, Treasurer of the Friends, commented: “These facilities are essential to the Park’s ability to re-create the key components of the historic citrus industry and give a voice to all the people who made it possible for citrus to create California’s second gold rush.”
Ken Noller, Vice President of the Friends, commented: “This opportunity would not be possible without the leadership and shared vision of Assembly Member Cervantes and Senator Roth. They both recognize the importance of giving a voice to all the people who worked so hard, sacrificed so much, and truly shaped the cultural landscape of California.”
The adopted budget directs $25,000,000 to the City of Riverside to support the capital improvements at the Park and $5,000,000 to the State Parks Department for improvements at the Park. All the current facilities at the park were built through a joint powers agreement between the City of Riverside Parks Department, State Parks Department and the Friends of California Citrus Park.
Maureen Kane, Secretary of the Friends, noted: “The City of Riverside will be the perfect partner to help us complete the improvements at the park. Mayor Dawson and Councilwoman Plascencia are long-time advocates of the park. We look forward to working closely with State Parks and the City to make the park the destination it was always envisioned to be.”
For more information about the California Citrus State Historic Park, visit the Friends of California Citrus Park website at www.californiacitruspark.com or contact them at (951) 333-6786 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.