And Broken Windows at Its Quarterly Meeting
In Pacific Palisades, where can you find raw sewage on the floor? Where can you find a large collection of cockroaches? Where can you find windows so warped with age they will not close? And where in 2019, can you find a public place that doesn’t have handicapped-accessible bathrooms?
That would be the Palisades Recreation Center, at 851 Alma Real Dr.
The Rec Center sees about 1,000 visitors a day during the school year and is used by schools, center and club sports, and visitors who picnic and come to special events.
At the Park Advisory Board meeting on July 17, Park Director Erich Haas, said that when someone comes in the office and turns on the light, the floor is covered with cockroaches that scatter.
The windows, which have not been replaced since the building was constructed in the mid-forties, will not close, which means dust constantly had to be wiped off surfaces.
“I’ve asked the City to pay for replacing the windows for health reasons,” Haas said at the meeting, but so far, he’s had no response.
In the winter, having heat in the building is not guaranteed because the facility’s heater is often on the blink – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Space heaters are kept by desks (and of course the windows will not close).
In the summer, there is no air conditioning. The electrical outlets in the gym sometimes work. . .sometimes don’t.
Even more troubling than cockroaches, windows that don’t close and inadequate cooling or heating in the building, are the antiquated bathrooms.
On a recent Sunday, Haas received the news that the toilets in the building had backed up, again, and there was raw sewage on not only the bathroom floor, but also the small gym and the office.
“This is the third time this has happened,” Haas said.
A plumber came and snaked a toilet, and maintenance came to clean, but not before Haas and some of his staff were down on their hands and knees wiping up the floor with Clorox wipes.
“Something in this office is making my people sick,” Haas told the board. “Health issues need to be addressed by the City.”
PAB President Mike Skinner said simply, “This is serious.”
The Board has sent a letter to L.A. City Rec and Parks asking for them to take action.
Circling the News reached out to L.A. City Rec and Parks Director Michael Shull about the structure.
He replied in a July 24 email to CTN. “I have staff actively pursuing funding opportunities,” Shull said. “I agree there is work needed at this facility and I hope to see some movement on repairs this year.”
Shull added, “I will be following up regularly on status.”
When Measure A passed, each Rec Center received an evaluation of the facilities. In Appendix A, Palisades Rec Center’s general infrastructure and gyms were listed as poor.
The open lawn area, tennis courts and playground were ranked fair. (The playground is not handicap accessible.)
A sinkhole had appeared in the Frontera parking lot in the spring. Although the lot has been repaired, the two lower tennis courts that were impacted by the sinkhole have not been resurfaced and there has been no indication about when they will once again be available for the public.
The top rating of good was only give to the four baseball fields, which are not maintained by taxpayer dollars, but rather kept in good condition by private funds.
Additionally, the parking lot has not been redone in 42 years, according to Brian Shea, the director of the 5/10K Will Rogers Run. For the past five years, he’s asked for the City to take care of the lot, so that no one is injured because of the cracked, broken pavement.
What improvements have been made?
The floors of the large and small gyms were resurfaced this past year paid for by the Clipper basketball organization.
The small gym is currently being painted – after more than 20 years.