Mar Vista Town Hall Meeting
In 2005, MVRC opened a new synthetic turf soccer field. The new field cost $700,000 and was funded through Proposition K, a measure passed by voters in 1996 to fund the improvement, construction, and maintenance of City parks and recreation facilities, and the acquisition of land for open space purposes. A six-foot chain-link fenced was installed to protect the new field. Many community members asked that the fence be taken down, claiming that it cut through the natural grass area and took away from picnic space. They also felt that with limited green space in this community, the fence further divided the park and limited open play. Other complaints were that the fence was not aesthetically pleasing, and constructed without community input. The fence was removed within two months of the field's opening.
Since the installation of the soccer field, residents living along the northern border of the park claim that there has been an increase in early morning and late night noise, errant soccer balls, crime, traffic, and trash, and an overall decline in the area's quality of life. They believe there is a correlation between their observed changes to their neighborhood, and the flow of users to the soccer field. They believe that reinstalling the fence would allow Recreation and Parks staff to control field use and monitor for inappropriate behavior, and therefore minimize impact on the neighborhood.
Others argue that the field is part of a larger regional recreation center and is intended to attract large numbers of users from throughout the surrounding areas. The "anti-fence" viewpoint also asserts that with better police enforcement, use of the field within park hours (5:30am-10:30pm) could be enforced.
One result of the meeting was a commitment from LAPD and OPS to make more stops by the park. Security cameras were also recommended.
Concerns separate from the soccer field and fence were expressed, including the condition of the bathrooms, poor security/lighting, access to the craft room for community meetings, under-use of the gym, and cuts to sports programs.
The Councilman appointed a group of community members to meet and discuss compromises related to easing concerns regarding the soccer field, but also general improvements to the park. Our office will look to this group and all Mar Vista residents to advise us and other City agencies on what steps to take next. There is general agreement that the City needs to commit more money to MVRC to improve the facilities, increase programming, and add staff while also remaining respectful of neighborhood interests. The challenge is to develop appropriate and cost-effective strategies for improving the Mar Vista Recreational Center.
We look forward to residents reaching a consensus and providing the City of Los Angeles with recommendations.
Mar Vista and Del Rey Field Deputy