Wednesday Aug 20 2008
Paul J. Lunardi Park opens
By: Lauren Weber, The Press-Tribune
Roseville welcomes 58th park
Roseville recently celebrated the opening of it’s 58th park – an 8-acre park filled with grass and open spaces, a walking trail and playground equipment for kids – named after one of Roseville’s key figures. “This park is named for one of our true public heroes: Mr. Paul J. Lunardi,” said Mayor Jim Gray at the park’s dedication ceremony Aug. 9. “Paul laid the groundwork for our well-planned growth, our clean industries, our progress and our financial health,” Gray said. “All that defines Roseville as one of the best places to live can be traced back to the decisions of the smart, dedicated citizens like Paul who have served their community and given selflessly of their time.” Lunardi was born in Roseville and still resides in the neighborhood of his youth. His contribution to the city has included serving on the state Senate, contributing to the development of the municipal fire department and serving as an Assembly member. Also, becoming a member of Roseville’s city council at the age of 28 and mayor at age 32, Lunardi was the youngest member and mayor to have served at that time. “I was young at the time,” he said, remarking that council members typically serve at the age of 50. Lunardi said he locals first suggested he run for council he refused. “There’s no way someone my age would get elected,” he said he remembered thinking. Two years later, he was asked to run again against 13 others for three openings. He took up the suggestion and grabbed a spot as a councilman. Although he calls his initial city involvement “accidental,” Lunardi said he’s especially proud of helping to get the hospital built in Roseville. “That’s what has saved lives,” he said. Lunardi continues to be involved in the city, most recently with his involvement with Roseville’s centennial celebration. “He contributed the first check to our Rose Parade float after speaking at our press conference announcing our application and has been very active in celebrating our history,” Gray said at the dedication last week. Because of his devotion, Lunardi was also presented with the key to the city at the ceremony, an honor that only a few citizens have received, Gray said. Norma Santucci, a Roseville resident who has known Lunardi for approximately 60 years, describes him as a “gentleman.” “He never forgot where he came from,” Santucci said of his commitment to the city. “His roots ran very deep in Roseville. His major concern was the good of his community.” His park’s namesake, adjacent to Silverado Middle School on Country Club Drive, features amenities like a covered picnic table area, four-swing set, red rope-like jungle gym, a walking turf trail surrounding open space and five hidden numbered signs that represent some of Lunardi’s accomplishments (park-goers are encouraged to find them all and match them to the achievement listed on the plaque displayed at the park). “I was very humbled by it and very honored that my name was suggested,” he said. “It’s something that doesn’t happen to everybody.” What: Paul J. Lunardi Park- Roseville’s 58th park Where: 2501 County Club Drive, Roseville Amenities: 8-acre park with walking trail surrounding open space, picnic tables, swing set, jungle gym and grassy area.