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Santa Monica Seeks Reimbursement Grant for Lawn Upgrade at Reed Park

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Hector Gonzalez
Staff Writer

February 12, 2015 -- Residents prefer low-impact uses such as a walking path for a 1-acre grassy area at Reed Park, a recent City survey showed.

City residents who frequent the 5.3-acre park on Wilshire Boulevard between 7th Street and Lincoln were asked last month to complete a survey on possible uses for the open grassy area on the park’s northeast side. People had until December 31 to submit the survey.

Around 45 percent of those who did said they prefer a walking path for the open area, while 38 percent said they would like to see exercise equipment installed. About 33 percent said the City should build a performing center on the site, said Melissa Spagnuolo, senior administrative analyst for the Santa Monica’s Community and Cultural Services.

About 45 percent of those surveyed checked the “other option” box and wrote in their own preferences. The results “were more varied,” Spagnuolo said.

About 22 percent said they want the City to invest in more security upgrades, while 13 percent favored installing picnic tables and benches. Less than 13 percent requested landscaping upgrades, she said.

City officials also would prefer some type of low-impact use for the open grassy area, “the least-used area of the park,” Spangnuolo said.

“The rest of the park is highly utilized,” she said. “It’s a very active park.”

First opened in 1892, Reed Park features two basketball courts, the Miles Memorial Playhouse, six lighted tennis courts, and a multipurpose room.

The lawn upgrade is the last phase of a series of improvement the City has made at the park, most recently in 2012 when a new playground and garden were added, along with new landscaping and other upgrades.

City Council members approved $89,600 in last year’s budget for the lawn improvement, and added another $721,961 in this year’s budget, bringing the total for the project to $811,584, according to staff.

On Tuesday, the Council voted to apply for a grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to reimburse up to half the project’s costs, including pre-planning costs.

Administered by the National Parks Service, the fund was established to help state and local governments buy and develop recreational open space, the report said.

Most of the grant money comes from offshore oil leasing revenues, the Park Service’s website says, thereby “recycling proceeds from natural resources development back into natural resources protection.”

In California, the state Department of Parks and Recreation offers cities minimum awards of $300,000 and maximum grants of up to $600,000, the City’s staff report said.

Although the City must put up matching funds to qualify, the grant could save the City as much as $200,000 off the total costs, Spagnuolo said.

The project was still in the “initial design” phase, with construction expected to begin in January 2016, the staff report said.

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