The accessibility and health of parks reflects directly on the health of our neighborhoods. Parks provide important recreational opportunities for residents of all ages and a safe place where young and old alike can practice and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Historically, Council District 12, while located very near beautiful mountains and canyon landscapes, has not had the necessary facilities to allow residents of different ages and abilities the chance to enjoy our natural surroundings. That is why I have made it a priority as your Councilmember to open up new facilities while improving existing ones throughout the Northwest Valley. What follows is a list of recent and ongoing projects to provide greater park accessibility within our communities.
Chatsworth Park South
In 2008, the discovery of lead contamination caused the closure of Chatsworth Park South. Around the same time, the global financial crisis resulted in massive cuts to the City’s budget. The prospects for cleaning up and re-opening the park were dim. However, thanks to the hard work and coordination between the Council District 12 office, Department of Recreation and Parks, Bureau of Engineering, the Bureau of Contract Administration, and the CA Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Chatsworth community celebrated the ribbon cutting and reopening of Chatsworth Park South during the summer of 2017.
The first step to reopening the park required a massive cleanup. Decades earlier, the site had been a shooting range where clay pigeons were used for target practice. Lead from the bullets had leached into the soil as well as PAH, a petroleum byproduct used in clay pigeon manufacture. In order to eliminate the contamination, 6000 tons of soil had to be removed. The ground was then capped with crushed rock, soil and vegetation to ensure that any lingering contamination was contained and would not affect surface soil and vegetation.
New Park & Amenities
Once the contamination was removed, the park itself was redesigned with new amenities so it could be enjoyed by all. The finished park includes bioswales and a natural stream bed to attract animal life, horse trails for equestrian activities, brand new playgrounds, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, and plenty of open space with benches and picnic tables for the community to enjoy.
After all of this work, our community now has a new park that not only replaced the original Chatsworth Park South but has made significant and lasting improvements that residents and visitors will be able to enjoy for generations.
Proposition K was passed by Los Angeles voters to provide a long term funding source for the maintenance and improvement of recreational facilities throughout the City. As Councilmember, I’ve leveraged these funds for a wide array of park improvements across Council District 12 including the following projects:
Chatsworth Park North
Aging sports fields and outdoor areas of Chatsworth Park North require an upgrade. The work contract for these facilities is currently out to bid and should commence within the next year.
Northridge Rec Center Sports Court Lighting
Providing lighting at recreation facilities such as tennis and basketball courts is essential to maintaining quality programming year round at our parks. This work contract to construct outdoor lighting at Northridge Rec Center is currently out to bid and will likely commence within the next year.
Shadow Ranch Baseball Field Improvements
Improvements to the Shadow Ranch Park Baseball fields are currently under construction thanks to Proposition K funding. A new ball field will support athletic programming for youth.
Horsemanship is a tradition dating back to the founding of Los Angeles and settlement of the San Fernando Valley. And while much of Los Angeles agricultural communities and fields have been replaced with suburbs, horsekeeping in the San Fernando Valley continues to this day.
In order to support the equestrian communities of our district, I’ve sought to create and expand infrastructure for equine recreational activities.
Aliso Canyon Park
Opened in 2013, the park was the first public equestrian arena in the Northwest San Fernando Valley. Features included an outdoor pavilion and picnic area, a pedestrian bridge over a small creek to protect the riparian habitat, a naturally landscaped meadow with native, drough-tolerant plants, equestrian parking and staging area, and improved trailheads and markers for various trails through the canyons.
As every resident knows, the San Fernando Valley can get hot, especially during the summer months. That is why pools and other aquatic recreational facilities are an essential part of preserving quality of life in our neighborhoods.
Granada Hills Pool
In recent years, the Granada Hills Pool at Granada Hills Recreation Center – formerly known as Petit Park – has due to its age, developed cracks and leaks which have caused it to be closed intermittently during critical summer months. My office has been able to work with Recreation & Parks to patch the leaks periodically to keep the pool open but that is not a permanent solution.
In 2018, we were able to fund a full redesign and reconstruction of the pool. It will have a new bath house and modern amenities. Construction will begin within the year meaning the pool will be closed for the 2019 season but open by the summer of 2020.
Mason Splash Pad
Working with a grant from First 5 LA and in coordination with the non-profit Shane's Inspiration, the Mason Playground and Splash Pad was renovated to provide a fun experience for children of all abilities. Lack of accessibilty can sometimes be a deterrent preventing children with disabilities from enjoying a day at the park. At Mason, there are now two all-inclusive, universally accessible playgrounds serving children ages 0-5 and 5-12 as well as a "splashpad" water play area to help kids keep cool during the hot summer months.
What the Future Holds
October 2018 saw the groundbreaking of Bloom Park. Bloom Park will be the latest destination for residents and visitors to the Northwest Valley. At an expansive 50 acres it will contain multiple recreational opportunities. It also will have a new event pavilion for concerts, plays, and other outdoor entertainment. Watch a preview of what the park will look like below: