Playing In The Sandbox
Tonight was the third York Park Planning Workshop for the vacant gas station lot at Avenue 50 and York Blvd. About thirty Highland Parkers attended the two-hour event at Buchanan Elementary School, facilitated by the office of Council District 14 Council Member José Huizar. Design options that the City could implement were presented followed by the community getting to play in the design sandbox by drawing on copies of the general plan. Over the past two planning workshops, the main features and shape of the quarter-acre park have been narrowed down, tonight was about refining those decisions and coming up with the fine details like color schemes, landscaping, furniture, and equipment.
At this point, part of the City requirements is that the property be fenced. The size and style of that fencing has yet to be determined. The prevailing consensus among the evening’s participants is that they would prefer as low and as least obstructive fence as possible. An interesting component of this new park is that it will have a surveillance camera that is not monitored, but only used for recording.
The participants were very keen about making sure this park was an attractive park that fit well into the neighborhood. The use of native plants, arroyo stone, and earth tones were part of the key features being stressed by the community. Another important feature the community members are requesting is a mural wall, a curated public art gallery, and mosaic elements throughout the park that reflect the artistic heritage of the neighborhood. To that end, a petition is being circulated to name the park in honor of Arroyo Arts Collective co-founder, Hendrik Stooker who died last year. (Don’t get me wrong, Stooker was a significant community member, but do we ALWAYS have to name a park for someone???)
If all goes as theoretically planned, we will have the most pimped-out city pocket park in Los Angeles. Art, mini library, play equipment, chess tables, lawn area, an amphitheater, a stage, exercise equipment, water play area, picnic tables, benches, a public restroom, shade structure, native trees and plantings are all possible options on the table at this point. Not everything will fit, but most of it will be part of the final plan that will be voted on by the community when the final design presentation is held on Saturday, December 7th at 10AM in the park site at 4956 York Boulevard. The public will have the day to stop in and vote their choice for the winning design. The park is expected to be completed by this time next year.