Local Teens Approach Mayor About Commemorating Friend’s Legacy

Local teens have been contacting Moreno Valley Mayor, Dr. Yxstian Gutierrez, in hopes of getting him to rename to the new skate park that is being built on the corner of Fredrick and Cottonwood after Derrion Coleman, freshman, lost his life last month after he was hit by a drunk driver. Mayor Gutierrez says that the process of renaming a park is more difficult than it seems.

“Officially naming the park is more complex and involves several lengthy processes, but placing a memorial (plaque) for him at the park and inviting students on our opening day would be more appropriate,” Gutierrez said.

Isiah Barillas, freshman, friend of Coleman, would post screenshots of his friends and himself direct messaging Mayor Gutierrez on Instagram about the new skate park to encourage others to the same.

“We thought that it would be a good memorial; since he did like skating, was known by everyone that would skate at [the park]. It would also be a way to remember him since the park’s right next to our school,” Barrillas said.

Barrillas explains Mayor Gutierrez believes that he would need permission from Coleman’s parents to obtain their consent, Gutierrez also explains that having a memorial would be easier and quicker compared to completely changing the name of a public park. Barrillas explains that even though it was not what he originally wanted he accepted it.

“Something is better than nothing so I agreed,” Barrillas said.

Coleman’s brother, Isaiah Smith, senior, says that his parents are happy that Coleman’s friends were actively trying to get the mayor’s attention and trying to get something to remember Coleman.

“I think it’s really cool that his name will live on in the park and also it shows how strong the community is and how much his friends cared about him,” Smith said.