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 firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com.
Brief Recap of Potrero Canyon Park:
* 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.)