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Heritage Park mural will honor two boys hit by cars and killed in east Bakersfield

Kern County District 5 Supervisor Leticia Perez announced multiple upgrades to Heritage Park
Posted at 6:16 PM, Feb 21, 2024
  • Video shows Alejandro Vargas skating at Heritage Park, Angel Berumen's memorial, and the groundbreaking event
  • The mothers of Angel Berumen and Alejandro Vargas attended the Heritage Park groundbreaking event where the county announced the construction of a mural to honor the lives of the two boys hit by cars and killed in east Bakersfield.

Angel Berumen and Alejandro Vargas used to skate here in Heritage Park, and this park is now undergoing some major improvements.
Loved ones say while the boys can’t skate here anymore, they’re happy to see their names kept alive in the community.

Heritage Park was a home away from home for Alejandro Vargas.

"He would always tell me 'Mom, skateboard for life. Skateboard for life,' and I'd tell him, 'Kid, you're only 13. You have a long life to live,' not knowing that his life was gonna be cut short," Josie Rosel, Alejandro's mom said.

It was no different for Angel Berumen who also spent a lot of time at the skate park.

"That's where he learned how to skate at Heritage Park, so I think this would be huge for him," Jasmine Burleson, Angel's mom said.

Alejandro Vargas was hit by a car on Niles and died in 2019, and Angel Berumen was killed in a hit-and-run crash almost 3 years later in 2022.

Now, the community can remember the boys' lives at their favorite park where the county will construct a mural in their honor.

"He said it, 'I'll be the next big thing,' and look it, not expecting we're getting a mural in memory of him here at his favorite skating park."

Other improvements include upgrades to the skate park, new bathrooms, and an amphitheater among other renovations.

Two mothers bonded by tragedy share they help support each other in the aftermath of the death of their boys.

"It's really unfortunate the way we came together, but you know she and I have become really close," Burleson told me.

Both Burleson and Rosel continue to advocate for sidewalks and crosswalks in the area where their boys were killed, and County Supervisor Leticia Perez says the park improvements are a start.

"We have to do something and take action, and here that means doing something by bringing the community together in their memory, in their honor, and making the skate park the best safest, most beautiful place for young kids to come," Perez said.

She adds the completion of the sidewalks on Niles Street is also underway.

"I just want him to know that we still think of him every day," Burleson said through tears.

The moms say it's still hard living without their sons, but they're keeping their memories alive in a place they loved most.

"Even though he's up there, he's blessing us not just me, but the community of Bakersfield," Rosel said.

County officials estimate the park improvements should take 18 months to complete.

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