New Playground Desperately Needed at Palisades Recreation Center


The playground at the Palisades Recreation Center is not handicapped accessible.

Although Pacific Palisades may be one of the richest communities in Los Angeles, its playground is not ADA accessible.

Resident Steve Soboroff raised money in 1986 so that the current playground could be installed.

Then, he was quoted as saying “When people pack lunch boxes to go to Palisades Park with their kids, they take sandwiches and Band-Aids.” He described the equipment as dangerous. He solicited money from residents and got 250 people to donate, and the playground was upgraded.

That was 35 years ago. The first handbook for Public Playground Safety was published in 1981, but in 1993, new safety standards were set for the industry, and book and standards have been updated several times since then.

California Assembly Bill, 1055, required all playgrounds installed between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 1999, be updated by January 2000. The Palisades Rec Center playground was not updated, but then it was installed in 1986.

According to some sources, playgrounds should see a new installation or update every eight to 10 years after the initial installation. Some commercial playground areas can last as long as 15-20 years.

Although busy every day, the Rec Center now has one of the most outmoded playgrounds in the City. The sand, which is supposed to be cleaned daily, is filthy—and does not allow a child in a wheelchair access to swings or slides.

There is no shade or shade structures and the lone tree that provided shade fell over in December and has not been replaced.

The Palisades Park Advisory Board has tried to get a new playground. On several occasions it has reached out to the City.

In 2014, it voted that the playground be upgraded to a Universally Accessible Playground (“UAP”) in Partnership with Shane’s Inspiration. At that meeting, PAB members based their vote on the fact that an ADA-compliant playground is actually only 50 percent accessible versus 100 percent for a universally accessible playground.

PAB was told that playground equipment for a UAP is designed to serve both children with special needs and able-bodied children.

Griffith Park was the first inclusive park opened in Los Angeles. Subsequently, 56 playgrounds have opened. The most recent universal playground to receive funding from Rec and Parks was in Westwood in 2021.

It’s 2022. What happened to updating a playground in Pacific Palisades?

Residents, who pay some of the highest taxes in the city/county, were told they needed to raise money for it.

Palisades residents have funded money to build the “big” gym, funded money to refurbish and maintain the little league fields and funded the construction of Veterans Gardens and the bocce ball courts. Residents are told if they want a dog park, they can help fund that, too.

It doesn’t seem fair.

Although there are uber wealthy, here, there are also those who live in apartments, and others who come to this area just for schools and to play.

The George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon, a regional park, is supposed to open this year. People are supposed to park at Rec Center. Children could play on slides and swings, before hiking into Potrero with moms and dads.

Potrero could be a crown jewel of parks – but not with a substandard and possibly dangerous playground.

Oh, forgot to say, the bathrooms at the Rec Center are not handicapped accessible either. So, if you’re in a wheelchair, someone will have to carry you through the door and then into a stall.

Why would the City turn its back on a simple request for a new playground? I guess the City is waiting for someone to donate.  But maybe, Palisadians are tired of donating for items that the rest of the City seems to receive automatically.

The bathrooms adjacent to the playground are not handicapped accessible.

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One Response to New Playground Desperately Needed at Palisades Recreation Center

  1. cindy simon says:

    Leadership! The many wonderful Palisadian families with children who use this park daily must have a leader amongst them to spearhead the effort. A leader who will gather like-minded parents together to advocate for funds from LA Recs & Parks, supplemented by private donations. Money won’t make it happen on its own – but couple it with the efforts of a passionate person who is laser focused on a new playground and it will happen.

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