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Pacoima, California is a neighborhood within the city of Los Angeles. Pacoima is one of the easternmost and northernmost areas of the San Fernando Valley. Most of the area is relatively flat. Pacoima is near the San Gabriel Mountains and the Angeles National Forest. A stream whose waters rushed down from the mountains westward into Pacoima is said to have given the area its name, as a word similar to Pacoima means “rushing water” in the language of the original inhabitants of the area. According to other sources, however, Pacoima derives from the word Pacoinga, which translates to “place of the entrance.” To the east of Pacoima are the communities of Shadow Hills (once known as Hansen Heights) and Lake View Terrace (once known as Tujunga Terrace), both of which contain areas zoned for equestrian use. Pacoima’s neighbor to the south is the community of Sun Valley. To the west are the communities of Mission Hills, Arleta, and Panorama City. To the north is the city of San Fernando and the community of Sylmar, which is the northernmost portion of the City of Los Angeles and a former olive-growing area. Pacoima is bounded by the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5), the Ronald Regan Freeway (State Route 118), and the Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210). Much of the commercial development in Pacoima is along Van Nuys Boulevard.Whiteman Airport
Pacoima is home to the 184-acre Whiteman Airport, formerly, Whiteman Airpark, established by businessman, Marvin E. Whiteman, Sr. in around 1946 on a parcel of farmland. Los Angeles County purchased the airpark in 1970 using State Airport Funds. The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Aviation Division presently owns the airport. In 1973, the County purchased 100 acres of land adjacent to the airport, which enabled the County to realign and lengthen the facility’s runway to accommodate larger aircraft. Whiteman Airport received its current name in 1980. A control tower was installed in 1988. Whiteman Airport now features a 4,120-by-75-foot paved runway. All income generated by Los Angeles County at Whiteman Airport is reinvested into the airport or the County’s system of airports. Today, Whiteman Airport is one of Pacoima’s largest single-location employers and provides vital services for the local public, including a home for fire and rescue aircraft and news helicopters, as well as venues for community events. It is also a base for over 600 aircraft as well as for national security and law enforcement operations. Whiteman Airport facilitates over 80,000 general aviation aircraft takeoffs and landings annually. The airport employs about 246 people directly and claims a contribution of an additional 166 jobs indirectly because of the opportunities provided by businesses affiliated with Whiteman or providing services to the airport and its employees. Whiteman Airport has an overall annual economic impact of about $112 million. Whiteman Airport can accommodate two-seat, single-engine propeller aircraft and higher-capacity jet aircraft. Whiteman Airport is located approximately one mile from Interstate 5 and is also near a Union Pacific Railroad line. Southern Pacific Railroad first came to the area in the 1870s and the street grid for a portion of Pacoima conforms to the course of the original Southern Pacific Railroad line.Hansen Dam and Reservoir
Homer and Marie Hansen owned a sizable ranch in the Pacoima area. After flooding in 1938 devastated portions of Southern California, the Hansen’s ranch was purchased in 1939 to build Hansen Dam and Reservoir. Built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District and completed in 1940, the project was first authorized by the Flood Control Act approved in 1936. Hansen Dam (a 2-mile-long earth-fill dam) and Reservoir is near the confluence of the Big and Little Tujunga creeks, which lead into the San Gabriel Mountains. The project is an integral part of the flood risk management infrastructure for the San Fernando Valley. The project not only captures storm runoff but also millions of tons of sediment that have washed down from the San Gabriel Mountains. About 162 acres of the project is reserved for use by the Army Corps of Engineers. The remaining 1,298 acres are devoted to recreational use as the Hansen Dam Recreational Area through a lease to the City of Los Angeles. Recreational facilities include Hansen Dam Skate Park, the 40-acre Hansen Dam Aquatic Center, soccer fields, and baseball fields. Hansen Dam Golf Course is an 18 hole course with two distinct sections. There is also a lighted driving range and putting greens on the site. Hansen Dam Horse Park is a 38-acre equestrian facility. Hansen Dam Horse Park has boarding space for up to 200 horses.Pacoima Spreading Grounds
Built in about 1936, Pacoima Spreading Grounds is a 165-acre water conservation facility that helps recharge the San Fernando Groundwater Basin.Pacoima Dam and Reservoir
Pacoima Dam on Pacoima Creek provides flood and debris control protection for Pacoima and surrounding communities and captures storm runoff to recharge the San Fernando Groundwater Basin. At 365 feet above the stream bed, the dam was considered the highest concrete constant angle arch dam in the world at the time of its completion in around 1928 or 1929. The dam withstood earthquakes in 1971, 1994, and 2001. Downstream, the San Fernando Road Bridge over Pacoima Wash dates to 1929. San Fernando Road was part of U.S. Route 99, the main north south route on the West Coast until the development of the Interstate Highway System.A Short History
The community of Pacoima dates to 1887 when 500 acres were subdivided and platted for an upscale town along the Southern Pacific Railroad line. Modern urban features such as cement sidewalks and curbs were installed, the first of their kind in the San Fernando Valley. However, development stalled when the boom of the 1880s ended and most of the original structures were destroyed in a flood in 1891. After the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in 1913 and water, which was previously scarce in the San Fernando Valley, became cheap and plentiful, Pacoima became an agricultural community. Pacoima was annexed to the City of Los Angeles in 1915, as was much of the San Fernando Valley during that period. Pacoima was fully developed by the late 1960s. The western portion of Pacoima was recognized as a separate community, Arleta, in 1968.Contact Us
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