The Palisades Park Advisory Board’s quarterly meeting on January 19 addressed tennis lights, Potrero Park, repaving of the parking lot and 5-pitch baseball.
Elijah (Asia) Cooper, the Rec Center acting director, noted that about 40 percent of the landscaping in Potrero Canyon is now complete and the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero is still scheduled to open this spring or summer.
Sewage again backed up in the 1950s building/gym, which necessitated placing porta potties outside the building. The bathrooms, which are not ADA accessible, are now operational.
Cooper was told by Recreation and Parks maintenance that a trench must go all the way to the street to repair the problem.
Additionally, the entire Rec Center parking lot was closed on January 19 as numerous potholes and other dangerous gaps between the curb and the road were filled.
Construction is also underway at the traffic island in front of the Rec Center building. (See story below.)
Cooper reported serious erosion on the hillside above the lower tennis courts, which was further damaged by numerous ground squirrels. “The Bureau of Engineering filled the holes and is working on a plan,” she said.
PAB President Mike Skinner, who saw the damage and the quick repair, said, “It’s going to be a major plan now,” because the BOE must also address erosion and ground squirrels to stop the entire hillside from sliding onto the driveway that enters into Potrero Park.
In recent years, mature trees that separated the tennis courts from nearby homes along Alma Real have blown or toppled over – the most recent was over the Thanksgiving weekend, when the winds toppled several trees. Lights now shine directly into adjoining residential windows.
Tennis Center director Mike Tomas told the PAB, “The tennis lights are from the 1950s and 1960s; they are not energy efficient.” (The lights on Court 7-8 were installed in the 1970s). He also pointed out that with different poles, the lights could be lowered and more focused, thus projecting less light pollution.
The lights, which are not LED, are also not on a timer. Residents reported that sometimes the lights are still on late in the evening, even when no one is on the courts.
Tomas said that Cheviot Hills and Westwood have received new lights for their municipal tennis courts. He will research the possibility of new lights, and PAB members Lynn Miller and Andy Starrels will help pen a letter from the board to the City about installing new lights.
AN EUCALYPTUS MUST BE CUT DOWN:
Cooper said that remove of one of the two eucalyptus trees near the Veterans Gardens bocce court has been delayed because of the heavy rains in December. The tree most likely will be removed in early February.
FIVE-PITCH GOES TO PPBA:
Traditionally, the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association (PPBA) has four divisions: Pinto, Mustang, Bronco and Pony. This year it will expand with a Shetland division (5-pitch).
“We have more 7- and 8-year-olds than we’ve ever had,” said PAB member Rick McGeah, who also serves on the PPBA Board of Directors (emeritus). He explained that this new program for 6- and 7-year-olds would take the place of park programing, which normally offered 5- pitch. The park will still offer t-ball.
“We’re adding teams this year and increasing the number of kids on teams,” McGeah said, noting that they were doing everything they could so that kids could play.
REPAVING THE PARKING LOT:
Circling the News asked for a status report on repaving the parking lot. The day of the PAB meeting, the City had filled in potholes, but the entire parking lot has not been done since the 1950s.
At an October 2019 meeting, it was reported that Brian Shea, the 5/10K Will Rogers Run Director, had been asking for years to have the parking lot repaved. “It’s never been done in the 42 years that I’ve headed the race,” he told CTN in a story.
The year before, race attorney David Aikenhead of Aikenhead, Cipes and Supanich sent a June letter to Rec Center Director Erich Haas about the potholes and deteriorating road conditions in the parking lot.
Aikenhead wrote: “Erich, in support of Brian Shea’s concerns for the safety of his nearly 3,000 participants and volunteers for this year’s July 4 race to start and finish at Palisades Park in Pacific Palisades, please see my attached letter of today citing our specific safety concerns.
Haas responded that the same day: “I have expressed your concerns to my supervisors and put in all job orders as ‘emergency.’
The potholes were filled, but the rest of the parking lot surface was ignored. Shea was told that once Potrero Canyon Park was completed and ready to open, parking spaces would be rearranged in the lot off Alma Real, and the entire surface would be redone.
At its October 2019 meeting, the park boar was informed that the ENTIRE parking lot would not be refinished—only part of it, according to Potrero Park project manager Pedro Garcia, who spoke to board member Gustaf Soderberg, a principal with VTBS Architects.
Soderberg had designed a more efficient parking lot to gain additional spaces, but he was told only two-thirds of the parking lot would be resurfaced.
At this meeting, the board members suggested they would send a letter to the City, requesting the entire lot be repaired and repaved.