LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — The city of Long Beach has dedicated a park commemorating the late Jenni Rivera.
The Mexican-American Banda singer and reality TV star died, along with six other people, in a plane crash on Dec. 9, 2012. The 43-year-old had just wrapped up a sold-out performance in Monterrey, Mexico and was flying back to California.
Long Beach was Rivera’s hometown. The Latin Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School.
“Jenni Rivera was a true Long Beach legend. Her music, and her many philanthropic contributions, touched so many people in our city and around the world,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said. “Naming this park after Jenni honors the legacy of one of our city’s most inspiring native daughters.”
The park is dedicated on what would have been Rivera’s 46th birthday.
The three-acre park is located at 2001 Walnut Avenue. It features a 125-foot-long mural recounting highlights from Rivera’s life. The mural was painted by her son, Trinidad Rivera, along with Sergio Ramirez and Daniel Antelo of Wall Dogs, whose large scale advertisement murals appear on several skyscrapers across Los Angeles.
“Jenni was an inspiration to us all. Her star on the Poly Walk of Fame reminds us to keep reaching for our dreams no matter what the circumstances or surroundings may be,” said Councilman Dee Andrews, who first sponsored the park’s creation, along with support from Councilwomen Lena Gonzalez and Suzie Price, and Councilmember Roberto Uranga. “By honoring Jenni Rivera with a Memorial Park, the City of Long Beach is paying tribute to a great citizen of our City who was a remarkable entertainer, inspirational leader and an amazing ambassador of Long Beach.”
CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold spoke to many Rivera fans who attended the dedication ceremony.
“She’s my hero, she’s my inspiration, she’s my motive to keep on going every day,” said Christina Bernal, a fan.
Bernal attended with her daughter and two grandchildren. They came all the way from Phoenix, Arizona.
Rivera’s family was touched by Long Beach dedicating a park to the late singer.
“It’s beautiful for the city of Long Beach to honor not Jenni Rivera the artist but the woman,” said daughter Janney “Chiquis” Rivera, “She was a single mother of five who never gave up and I think she represents so much and for it to be here, I’m so thankful and so grateful.”
Rivera was named the “Top Latin Artist of 2013” by Billboard Magazine, and with 20 million albums sold, was the highest-earning Banda singer of all time.