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Kids, Seniors, Homeless All Part Of Reed Park Discourse:

Residents gathered at the Reed Auditorium to provide input on making changes to Reed Park’s landscaping and expanding its playground.  The park(also knows as Lincoln Park) is located at the northwest corner of Lincoln and Wilshire boulevards.

The March 31 workshop began with the presentation of the City’s proposed improvements for the park.  They have hired Katherine Spitz Associates, a landscape architecture firm, to help design new landscaping for the southern street edges of the park and the area between the Miles Playhouse and the tennis courts, as well as expand the children’s playground so it will include the seldom-utilized shuffleboard and horseshoe court area.  The presentation was followed by the results of a survey that had been mailed to 4,600 residents and businesses surrounding the park. The survey found that the favorite times for park use are in the mornings and afternoons, and 80 percent of park users walk to the park while 14 percent drive. 

Most of the survey questions focused on the park’s playground.  Survey results showed that the majority of children who use the park are between the ages of 2 and 7 and 78 percent of the 188 respondents requested that play equipment be appropriate for children in the 2-5 age group, with an emphasis on swing equipment.  Fifty percent of the respondents also asked that seating be placed in the playground area, and over 50 percent asked that the playground surfacing be rubberized.  When it came to making comments on improving the park, 54 percent of those who responded commented on homeless-related issues.

The meeting then turned to receiving suggestions from the community on how to improve the park.  Two subjects took center stage: the effect of homelessness on the park and the objection by seniors to expanding the park to cater to young children.  One resident pointed out that in his view the homeless are occupying between 50 and 75 percent of the park.  Senior Betty Snow, who lives across the street from the park, stated she “wanted a place to be able to sit and read a book.” She then stressed how she tried to avoid walking by the park because she didn’t want to walk by the homeless and she didn’t feel safe in the park.  Another senior felt that the new proposal was catering too heavily towards young children and the park wasn’t meeting the needs of older adults.

Suggestions made at the meeting included having more space for adults, table chess, places where seniors can interact with children (storytelling, reading), a dog area, children’s restrooms, gates around the playground, exercise paths and a police substation, in addition to improving the park’s lighting and incorporating community gardens into the landscaping.  Participants also requested that signs in large print be placed around the basketball courts to discourage the use of foul language on the courts, particularly since they are adjacent to the children’s playground. 

City staff stated that the budget for the project is approximately $450,000.  Another meeting will be scheduled to review the design that is developed based upon the community input received at the meeting. 

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