On May 21, the L.A. Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners approved a $72,000 construction project at the Palisades Recreation Center that will renovate the floors and ceilings and replace office windows in the 1958 building.
The long-waited construction at 851 Alma Real started almost the moment that funds were approved.
According to Rec Center director Erich Haas, two new entry doors (Dutch doors) have already been installed. Work has also been completed on repairing and painting the office bathroom and electrical room.
In addition to a new ceiling, new floors and new windows, security screens will be installed that can be locked and unlocked from the inside, so that in case of an emergency, staff can exit through the windows (Currently that is not the case. Windows and screens are inoperable.)
Once the interior is finished, new office furniture, including five computer workstations, will be installed.
“Construction was originally slated for two weeks,” Haas said, “but now it looks like it will take closer to three weeks because of the current civil unrest.”
The money comes from Quimby funding. According to the Department of Recreation and Parks Commission Board Secretary Harold Arrivillaga, “There is $4,548,933 currently available in unallocated Quimby/Park Fees that are eligible to be allocated to Palisades Rec Center.”
“These Quimby/Park Fees were collected from developments within five (5) miles of Palisades Recreation Center, which is the standard distance for the allocation of Quimby Fees for community recreational facilities pursuant to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 12.33 E.3,” Arrivillaga wrote to Circling the News. (Quimby fees may go as far as 10 miles away to a park, called a regional park, if the RAP board approves and if there is no need at local parks. That means that the $4.5 million could be allocated to other parks within the CD 11 area.)
Last October the Palisades Park Advisory Board wrote to L.A. Recreation and Parks General Manager Michael Shull and asked to have the drafty old windows (which couldn’t be opened or closed) and the aging ceiling and floors, which have never been updated, to be replaced.
“As previously documented, this has resulted in persistent respiratory health problems for a number of Park employees,” the PAB board wrote.
The same letter also asked that Rec Center bathrooms and the playground (neither of which are ADA accessible) be updated. In September 2018, when Shull toured the Rec Center, he was told that those were priority projects.
In the October letter, the bathroom and playground returned to the must-do list, along with resurfacing the parking lot, which has not been redone since sometime in the 1960s. Providing T1 wiring for the two newly built offices in the big gym was also requested.
Will the Palisades Rec Center receive any more Quimby funding to address these long-delayed repairs and improvements?
Circling the News asked Arrivillaga in a May 22 email to explain how the funding allocations were decided. Was it the Councilman from each District who selected projects or was it RAP that assigned projects based on need? Arrivillaga has not yet responded.