Lake Los Angeles – Tuesday, January 19, it was LLA’s turn to take a run for Park improvements and additions in LLA in the future. The number of people expected was, at the most, 100±. One hundred chairs were set up, all of them occupied plus people in standing room only. The size of the crowd was wonderful. The spirit of the crowd was exhilarating. At least one-third of the attendees were there to support equestrian endeavors.
John Gargan, Deputy Director for Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation (P&R) was the moderator for the event. Gargan was supported by Regina Bradley, Recreation Supervisor for Lake Los Angeles and Pearblossom Parks, Olga Ruano and Zachary Likins, Park Planning Assistants.
Gargan clearly stated this workshop was for the purpose of learning about Park assets and needs in our community and nothing else. It was an opportunity for the community to let County know which park projects are most important to this community and to identify and steer potential county-wide park funding decisions. What was discussed would contribute to future County-wide park planning decisions going forward. It was not about any promise to complete any of the projects. What would not be discussed were any programming or money topics or any other issue other than Park needs.
One of the ground rules about not distracting others with side conversations was summarily and widely overlooked and thus created a problem for those who wanted to focus on the task at hand and share air time fairly with others. At the next meeting it is hoped that this ground rule will be either respectfully observed or strictly enforced if necessary.
The County staff and staff of each incorporated city has already taken an inventory of every Park in the system to evaluate their condition, prioritized a list of projects and their associated costs for each Study Area in the County. Coupled with all of the Needs meetings a final report will be submitted to the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) in May or June of 2016. The Supervisors will base future County wide planning and funding decisions on this data.
Ms. Ruano gave a brief definition of terminology used during this assessment process. 1 ace = 1 soccer field. 1/4 miler takes about 5 minutes to walk, where 1/2 mile takes about 10 minutes and would compare to the distance from Avenue P to Lake Los Angeles avenue via 170th Street East.
Metrics is a systematic thought process that leads to a system/process or a solution to a problem. Park metrics research questions in place were:
1. Is there enough park land for the population using the measurement in park acres per 1,000 people
2. Is park land located where people can access it, using percentage of the population living within 1/2 mile of a park
3. How much park land is available to residents living around each park, using park acres per 1,000 at each park
4. What amenities are in our parks as reported for every park by P&R staff
5. Is the park in good, fair or poor condition as evaluated by P&R staff
Bottom line, taking Park Acre needed + Distance to Park + Populations Density = PARK NEEDED
How much park land is available to residents around the park in Lake Los Angeles is 9.51 park acres per 1,000 population. The County average is 3.3 park acres per 1,000 population. Conclusion: Lake Los Angeles is doing exceptionally well!
LLA was rated as “Good” in General Infrastructure Conditions, Gymnasium and Community/Rec Centers. The “Fair” rating was given to LLA Park for Open Lawn and Turf Area, Basketball Courts (2), Baseball Fields (1), Soccer Fields (1), Playground (2), Splash Pads (1) and Restrooms (1). There was no “Poor” rating in LLA.
The initial wish-list which was the result of Mary Hanna’s survey and conversations between Lake Los Angeles Park Association and P&R was:
• Build covered pavilions including wash stations (sink), grills and electrical outlets
• Acquire land for indoor swimming pool
• Refurnish existing outdoor sink and water fountains
• Refurnish existing outdoor restrooms
• Build outdoor skate park and BMX track on existing land
• Expand community room #2 to include kitchen and restrooms
• Repair heating, cooling system in community rooms
Now came the time for the people in the audience to add their desires to this list. Many very good suggestions were made, discussed and each put on a sheet for voting. The most emotional discussion was around the proposed equestrian center project. Although it was clearly denoted at the beginning that funding was not going to be part of the discussion, attempts to bring up the question of funding was answered by ‘the funding is up to the Board of Supervisors, not P&R’. Monica Whitmer was the most eloquent and knowledgeable speaker on behalf of an equestrian center. Kara Elain Kerr brought up the dance floor idea explaining that the existing flooring would not be functional, that it would take a special type of flooring for dance instruction should people want dance instruction.
Each participant got 10 sticky dots to put on the paper with their favorite project. The top two by a broad margin and where the sheets were smothered in dots were Equestrian Park and Equestrian Trails. Equestrian Park and Trails was followed by Indoor Swimming Pool, Interpretive Center, Dog Park, Fitness Zones, Skate/BMX, Lighted Tennis Courts, Sink and Water Fountain rehab and Dance Floor.
The fat lady has not yet sung. We will be watching and following this closely and a report will be provided to the community once everything is analyzed and ready to report to the BOS.