New playground being installed on Larchmont

| January 1, 2020 | 2 Comments

LARCHMONT PLAYGROUND is being installed at the southern edge of the city property now a surface parking lot. The play area for supervised young children will replace one row of parking spaces, beyond the Boy Scouts and friends in this photo of a flag raising in 2018.

Work is expected to be underway this month for the long-anticipated playground pilot project being installed on a small portion of the surface parking lot on Larchmont Boulevard. Initially conceived by neighborhood associations and supported by Councilmember David Ryu and the staff and board of the city’s Dept. of Recreation and Parks (RAP), the 1,200-square-foot playground for young children accompanied by parents or guardians is expected to take about four weeks to install. An opening is expected as early as next month.

Nearly two years ago, letters supporting the idea came to the city from merchants  (the Larchmont Boulevard Association — LBA), from residents south of Beverly Blvd. (the Windsor Square Association — WSA) and north of Beverly Blvd. (the Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association), from the Hancock Park Homeowners Association, from the HOPE-NET producers of the Taste of Larchmont and from the LBA producers of the Larchmont Family Fair. The LBA’s liaison with the Sunday Farmers’ Market learned that the market organizers “will not object” to the potential loss of the parking spaces to be converted into the small playground.

The background concerning the playground pilot project was detailed in the April 2018 online “Larchmont Buzz” (tinyurl.com/y7kmesfp) and the April 2018 online Larchmont Chronicle (tinyurl.com/u4zmau4) as well as on the front page of the May 2018 print version of the Chronicle (also available in full at issuu.com/larchmontchronicle/docs/lc_05_2018). Even more background information is at: windsorsquare.org/playground-pilot.

LARCHMONT’S SIDEWALK is to the right in these drawings (with north at the top). Jumping game play areas are at the entrance, at right, and climbing play areas, with mounds and “sprout”-themed climbing structures, are in the western portion of the small space. A secure concrete K-Rail base is below a fence that surrounds the space, whose gate will be locked at night.

Next to Bella Cures

Based upon this almost universally positive response, landscape architects in the city’s RAP got to work on a detailed design process. The resulting playground, which replaces one out of four rows of parking spaces on the lot at 209 N. Larchmont Blvd., next to Bella Cures, will have landscaping as well as areas for child play and seating for supervising adults.

FUNDING for the playground comes from community contributions and city dollars. Here, Windsor Square Association president Larry Guzin hands $85,000 in donation checks to Carolyn Ramsay, executive director of the nonprofit Los Angeles Parks Foundation, during an association board meeting.

Funding

Funding for the playground was initiated by members of the community. At a WSA board of directors meeting in late September, WSA president Larry Guzin presented checks totaling $85,000 to Carolyn Ramsay, executive director of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation. The generous donors include the LBA, the WSA, Ahmet Zappa and others wishing to remain anonymous. A discreet plaque will recognize the donors at the new playground. The balance of the funds (approximately $180,000) have come through RAP monies collected from Quimby Act fees assessed on real estate developments in surrounding areas.

MOUNDS in the new playground will be bright colors including blue, terra cotta red, green and yellow.

Design

The playground design, as it has evolved under the leadership of RAP’s lead landscape architect, features multiple colorful spaces for child play.

There is a jumping game near the entrance from the Larchmont sidewalk. Further inside are log balance beams, “sprout”-themed structures for climbing, and low, brightly colored “mounds” for the littlest children. Three new trees, two palo verdes and one jacaranda, will be planted, along with new shrubs.

Opening hours will be similar to other city playgrounds, from after dawn to dusk. The playground is lighted, and it will be secured overnight by locking its entrance. Also, the LBA and its security contractor, SSA, will take an active interest in the well being of the playground and its occupants, including the playground’s opening and closing every day.

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Comments (2)

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  1. John Reid says:

    this PLAYGROUND absolutely must NOT happen. John Welbourn acted on his own here – the community is ABSOLUTELY opposed to this idea-please everyone write to councilman Ryu’s office in opposition at cd4.issues@lacity.org. this is urgent! thank you.

  2. Doug Derrick says:

    I was surprised to learn this Playground was approved by the Councilman at a time when parking is at a premium and the economic vitality of the Village is at a crossroads with such an playground juxtapose to vehicle traffic and parking doesn’t make sense despite the City’s assurance of safety. Frankly, I support public and private forums for children play and development but this location makes no sense. It is undersized for a viable playground, places serious security and safety exposure to the children at play and will impede accessibility through crowding. It’s like placing picnic tables at a railroad crossing – this doesn’t fit! – this doesn’t make much civic sense, diminishes valuable parking inventory and revenue to the Village. This decision seems to be based on feel good emotion to get the community vote rather than prudent logical thinking. Let’s do our homework people! Big picture – there needs to be a comprehensive Master Plan for the Village than these piecemeal feel good projects that don’t provide long-term sustainable value to our community. Thank you

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