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City Of Pomona

Phill and Nell Soto Park

Pomona, California

A newly constructed 1.76-acre nature park located in the Wilton Heights Historic District of Pomona, California. The passive nature-oriented park was developed with extensive community input with the goal of creating a space that encouraged health, wellness, and educational opportunities. Site is divided into five main planting areas featuring with trails traversing an Oak Woodland Garden, Riparian Woodland Garden, Meadow Grassland Garden, Pollinator Garden as well as a Historic Citrus Grove. The Garden Trail is a 1/4 mile track with the Meadow Trail clocking in as a 1/8 mile loop. All the gardens highlight local plant communities from the surrounding Pomona and San Gabriel Valley and offer several opportunities for interpretation and discovery.

Site features robust interpretive elements including educational and discovery panels, themed gardens, architectural accents and hands on elements for kids and adults alike. Water resource education and management were mandated due to the grant funding compliance with the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy. In addition to the bioswales and water-cycle education, salamander and frogs are built as concrete reliefs into the walkways alongside one of the bioswales. A panel highlights the water cycle and the importance of bioswales for water retention and ecology. Agricultural and local historic themes are featured via architectural elements and complimentary designs of walkways, furnishings, and structures.

The main entrance pays homage to the importance of agriculture to the history and growth of the area and features a grove of citrus trees, and an accompanying interpretive panel that also features the namesakes of the park, Phil and Nell Soto’s contribution to the area as groundbreaking and influential Latino public servants. The Pollinator “Butterfly” Garden features the life cycle of a butterfly, with hands on, oversized recreations of a butterfly and a caterpillar, interpretive panel.