Thursday Jun 26 2008
By: Michael Althouse, The Placer Herald
More than 200 turn out for Gayaldo Park opening
With approximately 200 residents and neighbors in attendance, the city of Rocklin dedicated its newest neighborhood park last Saturday. Gayaldo Park on Aitken Dairy Road was dedicated in honor of the late Hank Gayaldo and his wife, Connie, for their many years of service to the city of Rocklin. Among those in present were many members of the Gayaldo family, city council members and other city officials. “The city council made a decision a few years ago that they wanted to name parks after famous (Rocklin) families,” said City Manager Carlos Urrutia. “It’s a big honor.” Rocklin City Council member Scott Yuill said that the neighborhood parks are typically named after a family and intended to serve the neighborhood they are located in. “The bigger parks like Whitney and Johnson-Springview draw throughout the entire community,” he said, adding that the neighborhood park dedications are not “widely advertised because it’s really about the family.” Yuill noted, however, that despite the heat, the ceremony was well attended with many generations of the Gayaldo family there. “Family members spoke of the history of Rocklin. It’s a testament to the fact that although Rocklin has become a bigger city, it still has that small town charm,” Yuill said. “Not too many cities can say that. Connie is a very special lady and I’m glad we were able to get a park dedicated to her and Hank.” Speaking for the family, Jack Gayaldo, one of the Gayaldo’s four children, said the park’s location held sentimental meaning to him. “Fifty years ago, we may have been playing right here where I’m standing right now,” Gayaldo said at the ceremony. “Also, the park is only about a mile away from where my mom has lived since 1942.” Connie Gayaldo, 85, explained that her husband would “be so happy – he loved Rocklin.” Hank Gayaldo was active in city government, serving on the city council for 17 years and as Mayor in 1958 and 1960. “He worked real hard – we didn’t have garbage and sewer,” she said. “He worked with Placer County water, too.” Both Hank and Connie Gayaldo were part of the Spanish community that settled in Rocklin in the early 1900s. Hank was born in Hawaii in 1919 and moved to Rocklin in 1922 while Connie was born in the family home on Pacific Street in 1922. “Rocklin has always been pretty open to immigration,” Gayaldo said, adding, “Both my parents went to night school and learned English.” Connie Gayaldo is a member of the Rocklin Historical Society and has been active in other areas of the community. “I had my restaurant and I helped out with the schools,” she said. “Hank helped get the Stanford Ranch area started.” The White Spot restaurant operated from 1948 to 1974 and is now home to Icing on the Cupcake, a business that was also represented at the park dedication. “Connie asked specifically for our cupcakes,” said owner Christee Owen. “There was a great turnout. Connie was just honored and appreciative and thankful,” she said.