Village Green President Marge Gold Addresses Optimists

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Village Green park under construction. A gas station that had been located at the site and the underground tanks were removed.

Village Green Board President Marge Gold spoke about the history of  the Green at an Optimist breakfast meeting on June 21 at the Palisades Presbyterian Church.

Gold said that one of the most asked questions about the little pocket park is “Who owns the park?”

Many residents assume the green land at the intersection of Sunset, Swarthmore Antioch is City property. Gold explained that the “Village Green Board, a nonprofit, owns the park.”

The Village Green committee had thought they would turn it over to the City of Los Angeles after it was completed because of projected maintenance costs but decided to keep it.

“It looks better than some City Parks,” Gold noted.

Initially the land was created as a park that faced this historic Business Block building “the pink building that’s now white,” she said.

That park land was converted to a Standard Service station in 1945. Gold showed Optimists a photo that proclaimed gas was 36 cents a gallon, which brought groans, since the cheapest gas in town is now more than $6 a gallon.

In 1972, Standard Oil decided not to renew its lease. The newly organized Pacific Palisades Community Council established a five-member Village Green Committee and signed a lease giving the committee an option to buy the land — if it could raise the necessary funds. Starting in October that year, nearly $70,000 was raised. About $46,000 was used to purchase the land and the rest of the money went to park development.

The Palisades Village Green was certified as a California nonprofit and formally dedicated on August 17, 1973.

Several Optimists were integral to the parks founding, including Wally Miller and Tom McKiernan.

There are currently 10 members on the board and Bob Gold serves as budget advisor. He told Optimist the annual budget from October 1 to September 30 is about $24,000.

Annually, they pay about $3,000 to DWP, $3,300 for gardeners, $1,500 for insurance, $1,600 for fountain upkeep and $7,000 to take care of the trees.  Rodent removal (the Green uses a company, Veratech, that uses live traps – not poison) is $1,700, landscaping is $1,000 and trash pickup is $3,600.

Bob said that costs have gone up because vendor costs have gone up. The nonprofit receives money from grants from local groups and from major donors such as the American Legion and Almalfi Founder Anthony Marguleas. Individual donations are welcomed.  Residents who would like to become board members, can also go to the website for information. Visit: palisadesvillagegreen.org.

If an organization wants to use the Green, they must receive permission from the Board. Upcoming events at the Village Green will be an Allied Artists Art Show on July 17, and on July 23, Marguleas is orchestrating a “Chalk Fest.”

Village Green after it was first planted. Cars are traveling on Sunset Boulevard.

The Village Green today continues to be a private park maintained with donations.

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