Proposed Potrero Park Hours Need to Be Changed: Residents Urged to Reach out to Councilman Bonin

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George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon is flanked by homes on several sides.

The George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon is slated to have an opening dedication on December 3.

Residents were dismayed to learn the park signage will state the Wolfberg Park will be open from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. year-round.

Palisades residents had been promised that the park would operate from dawn to dusk because of the high fire danger, the influx of transients and the lack of lighting in this 46-acre riparian park.

Resident Chris Spitz, who is a former Citizen of the Year, sent a November 12 letter to L.A. City Recreation and Park staff: “I and fellow residents are shocked and dismayed to learn that RAP staff is now imposing new and, in this case, nonsensical and dangerous Park operation hours:  5 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

“This sudden decision is completely contrary to the City’s repeated representations to the community over the course of many years — including written representations to residents by the former BOE Park project manager/engineer — that the Park would sensibly be closed from dusk (sunset) to dawn (sunrise), i.e., open only from dawn (sunrise) to dusk (sunset) — and that Trilogy locks would be placed on Park entrance gates which will automatically (i.e., by remote operation) lock the gates at dusk (sunset) and open the gates at dawn (sunrise).”

CTN has learned that all city park hours are set from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. unless the hours have been amended for a specific park.

According to RAP officials, if the intent is to have a sunrise-to-sunset park, the Council Office [Councilman Mike Bonin] needs to make a motion for an ordinance to RAP to amend those hours, and to add this park to the list of all parks that are closed from sunset to sunrise.

CTN contacted Noah Fleishman to ask if Councilman Bonin had made that motion. When he responds we will update the story.

If residents feel that the park should only be open to visitors from dawn to dusk, one can send an email to noah.fleishman@lacity.org and to rap.commissioners@lacity.org.

 

Brief Recap of Potrero Canyon Park:

This was Potrero Canyon at Friends Street before the City started infilling the Canyon.

* In the 1950s, houses start slipping into Potrero Canyon. The City begins filling the canyon with combustible rubbish, street sweepings, pavement removals and yard trimmings, but this action is opposed by the Huntington Palisades Property Owners Association.  

* 1964: the City acquires the Canyon from Charles and Martha Patterson, using eminent domain.

* 1964-1984: more houses slide into Potrero and neighbors bring a $75-million lawsuit against the City.

* December 1984: the City purchases 14 residential properties (13 on DePauw and one on Alma Real) for $6.8 million to settle an earlier lawsuit and announces a plan to install a drainage system and create a city park. The park will be completed in five years at a cost of $3 million. (An additional 33 lots were later purchased by the City.)

* 1990: drainage is completed, and sub-drains are installed. Grading and compaction starts.

* 2004: only about 35 percent complete, grading stops because of lack of funding. Project is put on hold. The Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee is formed.

* 2005: slope failure occurs at 211 and 231 Alma Real. Another lawsuit is brought against the City. Through Bill Rosendahl’s senior deputy Norman Kulla, the City and the Coastal Commission agree that all lots and houses along the canyon, owned by the City, will be sold and the proceeds dedicated towards completion of the park.

* 2011: a ceremony is held, and City officials vow the park will open in 2017 at a cost of $30.5 million.

* 2016-2017: dirt from Caruso’s parking garage construction on Swarthmore is taken to the Canyon to be used for fill.

* 2018: grading resumes, landscaping will go out to bid.

*2019:  another groundbreaking ceremony is held. Park is now scheduled to open in late 2020 or early 2021.

*2022: Potrero Park is renamed George Wolfberg Park at Potrero in honor of long-time Palisadian and activist, who oversaw the Advisory Committee for years. The dedication and opening of the park is now scheduled for December 3. (Readers can anyone make an estimated guess what this park has cost the City since the 1950s? The $11 million approved by the state for the proposed pedestrian bridge from Potrero to the Lifeguard headquarters on Will Rogers Beach over Pacific Coast Highway, will probably be upwards of that figure.)

The walls of Potrero Canyon started sloughing early in the development of homes along the rim. This photo was taken in 1952.

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3 Responses to Proposed Potrero Park Hours Need to Be Changed: Residents Urged to Reach out to Councilman Bonin

  1. Bill Bruns says:

    Councilman Bonin needs to be proactive and support the residents will live along all sides of Potrero Canyon. Allowing this park (not the Recreation Center itself) to remain open after dark makes no sense. Do the trails down the canyon to PCH even have lights? I seriously doubt that the cash-strapped City has installed lighting. So who in their right mind would even try to venture down into that no-man’s land at night? Good luck coming back in one piece.

  2. John E. Alle says:

    The encampments for the mentally ill, drug dealing and addicts Mike Bonin tried UNSUCCESSFULLY to set up in the parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach are exactly what he wants to see happen in Potrero Canyon Park. So great he was FORCED out of office.

  3. Doug Day says:

    Since the goal posts keep getting moved it is now time to demand an 8′ fence at the mouth of the canyon connecting to the already installed 6′ perimeter fences. This would block all foot traffic from PCH or the Via Bowl from accessing the Park. It would remain in place until the COMPLETION of the footbridge connecting the Park road to the beach. And of course the hoursa should be dawn to dusk, matching the hours for the Park areas on Friends and Via de las Olas. Also, a declarative statement that the Park and adjoining areas ARE NOT a 46 acre off-leash dog

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