Monday, September 20, 2010

Why plan a park?

Earlier today, Nick Partee posted about the park planning meeting this evening at 7pm. The discussions about this parcel have been going on for quite a while, with presentations about it at the Four Mile Run Farmer's Market every week.  But several months ago, Nick has done a great write up available here.

But how did this happen?  Where are the funds coming from in today's tough budget cycles?  The answer is that there really is no money for this.  The City used open space funds to acquire the property a few years back and tear down some of the old buildings,  When the budget crunches came on, they were about to give up and tear down the last remaining building when the group of architects stepped in and donated their time to come up with a plan to do something temporary with donated time and materials and with the funds that had been slated for the demolition.  
A group of volunteers have done some clean-ups and renovations on the site already and anticipate providing a lot of the labor for any future work, just as we have at another new park property at Reed Avenue (see this earlier article about that).... which at this point the City isn't even mowing or tending to the dead trees (Nick personally took down a dozen with a HAND saw).  In this latter case, all of the plant materials were gleaned from back yard cast-offs in Beverly Hills, Del Ray and Arlandria; in other words, pulled from the trash. The mulch on site comes from ground up dead trees. The only money spent was on rental equipment (unless you count the repairs that Jim Russell had to make on his transmission that he wreaked pulling up fence posts).

The budget for the Four Mile Run Park expansion (the subject of tonight's meeting) is maybe about $200 at this point.  That's what a group of middle school kids raised this summer for the project at a car wash.  

But we're swimming in mulch and litter.  We really need help caring for the gardens, tree lawns and street trees that the City has never tended to, even in the boom years (here's what we tried to do with that).  And there's no end to the litter and trash that people keep dumping in our parks.  We've had a half dozen clean-ups this year alone and we could still keep doing it. 

And most of all we need advocates. After the middle school kids came out for a clean up this summer, I put the question to them: "how do we fix this so we don't have to keep coming out and cleaning up after other people?" Their answers were telling. What are yours?

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