Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Silver Lake Meadow

munchkins #3
Originally uploaded by rain queen.
Barely a third of Los Angeles's children live within walking distance of a park. According to the National Recreation and Parks Association, a city should supply 10 acres of park space for every 1,000 residents. Los Angeles hovers at 10% of this standard.

When I first ran for office in 2001, I vowed to double the number of green spaces in the district. My staff and I looked at every vacant lot and every budget line to find the funds and land needed to create more places for children to play and for communities to get to know each other. We dug in deep, creating parks from an alleyway in Hollywood, vacant lots throughout the district, and pockets of land adjacent to the Los Angeles River. We've sought bigger projects as well, including the proposal to build a cap park over the Hollywood Freeway and to turn a heavily-used street-lighting yard into a neighborhood park.

We successfully doubled the number of green spaces in the 13th Council District and we’re focused on further greening. You've seen the development of the very popular improved walking path around the Silver Lake Reservoir as it unfolded. Now Phase Two of the path, along Silver Lake Blvd between Armstrong Avenue and the dog park, is ready to commence.

With the pending completion of the path that will make it much safer for walkers and joggers around Silver Lake Reservoir, and in keeping with my work on parks throughout CD13, I have begun to discuss with community members the idea of opening the 6.5 acres of beautiful meadow space to the public. This area has remained fenced off and closed to the public for over 60 years. I believe that working together we can create access to this treasure in way that ensures safety and tranquility and continues to grow our community’s island chain of green space.

This past weekend, Councilmember LaBonge and I joined more than 600 Silver Lake residents inside the meadow at a public hearing to discuss the meadow's future. I wish more public hearings could be like this one: the Observatory Orchestra played, and many neighbors ducked the public meeting and simply enjoyed the wide, open grass with their families. (As blogging.la's Jillian's pics, including the one above, demonstrate, there were dozens of children taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the meadow.) Neighbors had the opportunity to voice concerns about parking, safety crossing Silver Lake Boulevard, and wildlife, and all these will come in for close scrutiny as we continue to examine the meadow's use as a public space. (On the issue of wildlife: one thing all sides agree on is that the knoll directly north of the meadow will remain fenced off and closed to the public. While coyotes, possums and skunks can be seen at play in the meadow, their habitat comprises only the wooded knoll.)