Family donation leads to new Woodlake park
Alsumiri family donates property at Lakeview and Manzanillo for Woodlake’s newest park
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
WOODLAKE – Parents have yet another park to take their kids to now that Alsumiri Park has opened on Lakeview and Manzanillo.
The park is appropriately named after the Alsumiri family who generously donated the land to the City in 2017 with the intention of turning it into a park. Ahmed Alsumiri, who initially bought the land to develop houses said he’s glad there is another place for kids to play.
“I’m so happy to do this and I’d like to do more if I can. I’ve lived here in Woodlake for 30 years and this is home,” Alsumiri said during the park’s ribbon cutting last Friday.
Alsumiri has lived in the United States for 44 years, and is a native from Yemen, has managed to capture the American dream. Since he arrived, Alsumiri has been working to give his family the best life possible. Alsumiri owned a liquor store for a time before buying and developing real estate. He went on to relocate across the county from Tulare to Woodlake and now his son, who served in the Navy, is currently pursuing his PhD in aviation. Alsumiri said his daughter has settled down with her family in Michigan.
Local elected officials offered their thanks for the Alsumiri’s generosity at the ribbon cutting.
Mayor Rudy Mendoza says for anyone who grew up in Woodlake they are aware of the generosity of the Alsumiri family. Mendoza said the family was well known for their support of youth sports in the community.
When it came down to talking to the Alsumiri family, who are Mendoza’s neighbors, about donating the land they had bought over 20 years ago it was easy for them to see the positives of a new community park.
“A lot of the positive things that have happened in Woodlake are because of conversations,” Mendoza said.
When Mendoza says the better parts of Woodlake start with a conversation, he is not kidding. City manager Ramon Lara said the first five minutes talking with Alsumiri about the potential park were not going well. Of course, for the first time, Alsumiri had to come to the realization that he was not going to be able to develop the land he bought 26 years ago because of the expense of moving the storm drain that runs beneith it.
The news was particularly hard to take considering Alsumiri had blueprints all ready to go. But according to Councilmember Frances Ortiz, it is that level of generosity that has led Woodlake to prosper.
“I’ve lived here 50 some years and I think we have everything we have here because of the people we have here,” Ortiz said. “I appreciate Woodlake, I appreciate our staff…a lot of the things are here because of the people that love Woodlake.”
Lara said the City was able to pay for the playground equipment and arbor at the park using local sales tax dollars. The influx of additional general fund cash came from the sales tax increase passed in November 2017 under Measure R, not to be confused with Tulare County’s half cent sales tax also titled Measure R that is specifically allocated to roads. Lara said the project was took only four months to complete as they started in August