Compared to some of the City’s neighborhood groups that have been around for decades, the Ocean Park Association (OPA) is relatively new, having started in August 2004. Its boundaries are Pico Blvd. to the north, the City limits to the south, Lincoln Blvd. to the east and the beach to the west.
OPA’s purpose, according to President Ted Winterer, is to “preserve the essence of the unique community we cherish and further improve its quality of life.” Vice President Joel Brand told the Mirror in order to accomplish this goal, they aspire “to be the center of communication for the community.”
OPA is encouraging the City to protect the neighborhood’s older affordable rental units, preserving the historic scale and ambiance along Main St., fostering a friendlier environment for walking, biking and other alternative modes of transportation, improving neighborhood parks and reducing auto congestion on residential streets.
OPA also has a history of hosting neighborhood forums with City department officials. Thus far, they have hosted forums that have included the Santa Monica Police Department, the Planning and Community Development and the Transportation Department. On May 14 they will have a forum with the new City Manager P. Lamont Ewell at 3pm, right before their monthly Board meeting.
In 2005, OPA worked to “educate the community on the general plan update” and gave input to the City for the update. They also worked with the City “to look at the redesign and beautification of Ocean Park Blvd. from Lincoln Blvd. to Main St.” Another accomplishment in 2005 was partnering with the Main Street Merchants to improve the parking and traffic problems at the neighborhood’s farmers’ market.
Brand concluded his interview with the Mirror by noting his association hopes to “encourage civic engagement [by giving] people as much information as possible.” Current OPA members have a mix of “fresh ideas, wisdom and enthusiasm that make for a lot of fun.”
The association has also established a number of committees to work on long-standing issues. The OPA Board officers are President Ted Winterer, Vice President Joel Brand, Treasurer Dana Ehrlich and Secretary Jan Ludwinski. Board meetings are held the second Sunday of the month at 4pm in Joslyn Park. For more information, go to www.opa-sm.org.