I’m a resident of San Vicente Blvd. in Santa Monica, between 4th and Ocean, where I live in a two-bedroom apartment with my wife and three children, ages five and two (twins).
While we certainly appreciate the many advantages of living in our neighborhood, one of our greatest frustrations has been the lack of a local playground. For us, the nearest playground is Roosevelt School at Montana and Lincoln (a twenty-minute walk), however the playground is unavailable during school hours, which is ironically the most likely time to be taking toddlers to the park. The next closest playground is Reed Park, at Wilshire and 7th, too long a walk with kids.
And the biggest irony is we’re less than a five-minute walk from beautiful Palisades Park. Now don’t get me wrong – there are some great grassy areas for young kids to run and explore – but they have to compete with joggers, exercisers, walkers, picnickers, dogs, etc., a dangerous proposition. Not to mention there’s no fence there to stop them from running in the street…and no picnicker likes a strange toddler digging through the potato salad, trust me on this. So that got my wife and I thinking: how could there NOT be any kind of a designated playground for small children in Palisades Park?!
Our own experience told us there had been an increase in the number of children being born in this area and that families were no longer leaving and buying houses elsewhere. What had once been an apartment corridor full of singles and seniors was undergoing a significant change in its demographic. For example, our own building hadn’t had a child living there in 15 years – now there are six and one on the way. We also did some research on the Internet and found numerous studies confirming that for young children, especially kids under five, the more time spent outside playing the better – socially, physically and emotionally.
As we’ve driven our children around Santa Monica to play at the City’s various toddler playgrounds, we’ve noticed that several (like the one in Ozone Park, to the south) do a very good job of safely providing a play area for tots without using up a large amount of space. Why not in Palisades Park?
This is an idea that could really impact one of Santa Monica’s most important resources – its toddlers – and improve the quality of life for hundreds of young families living along San Vicente, as well as the numerous apartments and condos on Montana, Ocean and surrounding streets.
We recently presented our observations and proposal for a toddler playground in Palisades Park to the Recreation and Parks Commission, who were interested, supportive and are now working with the City to consider/study the issue.
If this is an idea that makes sense to you, I strongly urge you to contact the Recreation & Parks Commission and voice your approval of placing a toddler playground in Palisades Park. Their email addresses are:
Phil Brock: email@example.com
Neil Carrey: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Cloke: email@example.com
Lori Nafshun: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Schwengel: email@example.com
Ted Winterer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Wolch: email@example.com
In addition, please drop your City Councilmembers a line (or cc: them) to show your support:
Councilmember McKeown: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Katz: email@example.com
Councilmember Genzer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Holbrook: email@example.com
Please do your part to get the word out.