At the May 20 Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners meeting, a landscaping contract for $8,892,394 was awarded to Ford E.C., Inc. for the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon.
The 46-acre property, which will be a passive recreation park with a riparian habitat, will extend from below the Pacific Palisades Recreation Center to Pacific Coast Highway.
Potrero Project Manager Pedro Garcia told Circling the News in a May 25 email, “We anticipate issuing the notice to proceed to Ford EC within the next four to five weeks. Construction is expected to take 10 months.”
The initial construction and infill within this canyon began in 1989 but was delayed by contractor disputes and chronic budget shortfalls.
Seven contractors bid on the landscaping project, ranging from $8,892,394 to $11,275,100. Ford EC submitted the lowest bid. The project will be paid with the remaining funds in the Potrero Canyon Trust Fund (accumulated through the sale of city-owned residential property along the rim of Potrero).
David Card, who served as vice chair of the Potrero Canyon oversight committee and is now president of the Pacific Palisades Community Council, said at RAP’s May 20 meeting that residents are excited that “after 30 years of grading [and re-grading], the park is finally coming to fruition. I’m happy that the park is called George Wolfberg and I hope that his name will be recognized on the plans and on the signage.”
The first stage of the landscaping project will be to add 28 parking spaces in front of the recreation center. The contract reads: “Reconstruction of the Palisades Recreation Center parking lot, including paving, striping of parking stalls, installation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant signage and paths, and planting of trees and shrubs in the center parking lot island.”
Next, the project will “remove various mature trees in areas of the canyon that were not graded during the recently-completed grading project. During the clearing and grubbing phase, a BOE landscape architect will visit these areas to determine which trees may remain based on the restrictions imposed by the Los Angeles Fire Department and the California Coastal Commission. Trees within the canyon must be native and drought tolerant, and also approved to be within the fuel modification zones of the park.”
The contract notes that 530 trees will ultimately be planted in the canyon. A new prefabricated restroom will be built at the top of the canyon (near the entrance and tennis courts), an irrigation system installed and fencing around the perimeter of the canyon, as well as fencing around riparian zones and paths.
Garcia told CTN, “The perimeter fence will be a 4-ft. tall black vinyl coated chain link fence with wildlife permeable slots every 100 linear feet.”
One of the Potrero pathways, which will consist of decomposed granite, will lead from a park opening on Friends Street at Via de las Olas. The contractor will also create scenic overlooks that include benches and trash cans.
Currently, there is no money to connect the park, via a crossing over PCH, to Will Rogers State Beach. Card noted that there are fears that when people reach the bottom of the park, they will see the beach and try to go across the six lanes of highway to reach it, instead of walking another half mile up to Temescal Canyon.
“Can RAP seek funding to safely connect the park and beach?” he asked, noting that safety has been a primary concern of the Potrero Committee since its founding. “I’m asking RAP to seek funding from state and federal sources.”
Asked about park maintenance, the commissioners were told that once it comes time for the park’s opening, “We’ll request maintenance services as we go forward.”