HG: Our Newest Gem–A Big Deal!

I hope all you guys have been out to see the newest addition to our city. Given that Los Al is really tiny, and understanding the sad truth about the dearth of open, usable space, it really is a big deal.

Overlay this with the knowledge that the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy put up the bucks to bring it to fruition, big smiles should be seen all over town. Come on, I know you can muster at least a small grin. Whether you want to admit it or not, this is progress for our city, and since it doesn’t happen all that often it should be celebrated as such.

Knowing how busy most folks are and seeing the empty seating during city council meetings, I’ll bet that many locals have scant little knowledge of our newest gem, Coyote Creek Park. The genesis can be traced back to at least 2002 when the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC) obtained grant funds via Proposition 50, the Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection State Bond Act of 2002… quite a mouthful. The result was an award in the amount of $1,440,000 to Los Al in 2005. Thus was born a neat little gem that is almost 4 acres and about 2,500 feet long.

Because there are multiple entities that own or have rights to the site, the formation and development process took a very long time. And we should thank our local representatives who have kept the project in a forward motion. While it is within the city’s boundaries, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Southern California Edison, and the Orange County Flood Control District, and the aforementioned, RMC, all have their fingers in our pie. Thus, the results need be lauded for how well the bureaucratic labyrinth has been conquered.

In addition to the obvious benefits of a “new and friendly” open space in our midst, are the inherent positive essentials grown out of its focus on being a passive recreation area. I think what that means is that it will not have a specific recreational focus, and more importantly, will be relatively self-sustaining and require very little maintenance activities. And given the current and anticipated state of the availability of water, it is important to know that the landscaping is composed of native plants.

Additionally, the walkways are constructed with non-pervious materials, and thus, storm water will be allowed to percolate and replenish the groundwater system.

Because of its location, it’s anticipated that the users will not only be locals seeking an alternative to an activity oriented park, but folks from all over who will appreciate a neat little space to perhaps take a break from their bike ride to and from the beach. This “new” native habitat is expected to restore a little piece of the regions biological past. And as such, could serve as an addendum to LAUSD teachers’ curriculum by offering a “real place” with the look and feel of our region’s history. The easiest way to access it is from the fenced walkway bordering the North side of Oak Middle School.

It will be a while until the native flora begin to flourish and the fauna come around, but it will happen.

This is a good time to get out there and take a peek. Then, when it is in full bloom, you can better appreciate just how far it will have come. Take a walk, sit on one of the benches and read a book, spread out a blanket and have a picnic. Enjoy it…it’s yours. If you like what you see, let the folks in city hall know. And better yet, take a look around as you navigate the city and see if a similar installation could make sense anywhere else. Just off the top of my head, the empty space that runs along the back of Arrowhead Products, between Bloomfield and Lexington would be a good candidate.

2 possible enhancements:

I must note a couple of items that could, perhaps, enhance our newest city gem. One is that, realizing that the location has such easy access from the street as well as the bike path, it might be a plus to install a couple of security cameras. Let’s not forget that as much as we may want to think of Los Al in glowing terms, it would be imprudent to ignore real world exigencies.

Secondly, without making any judgments, I believe we need to address the eastern view from the park as well as the bike path. After all the investment in time, money, and energy from lots of people resulted in a real showcase, in my humble opinion, it is diminished by the scene that runs all along its eastern border. The trash cans, storage boxes, drying rags, rusted car parts (normal backyard detritus) takes the edge off our gem. I’m not sure of the best fix, but a row of trees, or bushes, or even one of those fabric green fence coverings might do the trick. Just a thought.

“Nevertheless, the basic forms, spaces, and appearances must be logical.”- Kenzo Tange (1913-2005) One of the most significant architects of the 20th Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was emblematic of his legacy of his global structures.

…And that’s just the way I see it.

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One Response to HG: Our Newest Gem–A Big Deal!

  1. Having lived across the street from the new park (back when I attended Oak JUNIOR HIGH School and there were houses across the street rather than apartment buildings), I say congratulations. A job well done for the residents.

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