“The bathrooms and playground here are a glaring liability for the City,” one Pacific Palisades board member said at the quarterly Park Advisory Board (PAB) meeting held virtually on July 20.
The Pacific Palisades PAB voted to send a letter to the city asking for those items to be replaced.
News stories show those two items were first reported to the city in 2014, when the Park Director Erich Haas said the playground was nearly 20 years old and that the bathrooms, which were built in the 1950s when the Palisades Recreation building was constructed, had never been updated.
Now almost another decade has gone by without the city taking action.
On June 28, 2022, the County Council (file 22-0605) passed a motion that all playgrounds receive funding to ensure every playground is modernized and has resilient surfacing and shade.
The original motion stated “Due to the sheer volume of playgrounds that need to be upgraded or replaced, a piecemeal approach, where neighborhoods have to wait for scarce Quimby or Measure Allocations in order to see park improvements, has been used by the city which only allows for a few playgrounds to be replaced a year. This is not sustainable or in the best interest of Angelenos – a comprehensive plan is needed to upgrade all of the playgrounds in the city so that they are safe and accessible for all children. I THEREFORE MOVE that the Department of Recreation and Parks be instructed to report back in 30 days on the condition of all playgrounds in the city.”
Kevin De Leon, who made the motion, further asked that the report from Rec and Parks include the year the playground was installed, whether or not it has resilient surfacing, if there is existing shade over the playground, and if the playground has secured funding for repair or replacement.
The Palisades Playground, built in 1986, has sand, and the lone tree that provided shade blew over late last year.
The bathrooms are not wide enough for a wheelchair to access the stalls.
On July 21, The PP PAB sent a letter to Jimmy Kim, RAP acting general manager, stating “the condition of our ADA noncompliant playground and bathrooms are dangerous and unsuited to the standards of the LA City Department of Recreation and Parks. These conditions pose an immediate safety risk to users, as well as an ongoing liability risk to the City of Los Angeles.
“We have brought this matter to the attention of city elected officials and park management for years. In fact, on October 17, 2019, we wrote a letter to RAP listing our priorities, and the ADA violations were clearly delineated. While other priorities were addressed and we appreciate that, nothing has been done regarding the playground and the bathrooms.”
The PAB letter to Rec and Parks pointed out that “Funding, including from Quimby coffers, has been passed around and doled out to other parks and recreation centers for necessary and sometimes willful upgrades, but never to our park where an investment in our buildings and structures is long overdue, and quite necessary.”
The Board asked for an immediate response from the city, that included identifying a source of funding so that necessary upgrades/improvements could be made.
The letter was signed by PAB Chair Mike Skinner and sent on behalf of members Janet Anderson, Bob Benton, Lynn Hylen, Jay McCann, Rick McGeagh, Kenneth Spencer, Andy Starrels, Mike Thomas, Kirk Wendorf and Maryam Zar. The current Palisades Park Director is Jasmine Shamolian.