Los Angeles County Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky acted as the Master of Ceremonies Monday for a dedication ceremony of the improved Will Rogers State Beach and the renaming of the South Bay Bike Trail in honor of longtime Los Angeles City Councilmember Marvin Braude.
According to the program handed out at the ceremony, the $13.5 million improvement project included “four new mission-style restrooms, a new lifeguard lookout and garage facility, parking lots, new landscaping, and the construction of new ADA-compliant access improvements as well as the redesign of the parking lot entrance at Temescal Canyon Road.”
Funding for the project was allocated from Regional Park and Open Space District Prop A Bonds as well as County funds.
Yaroslavsky stated that the project was a “long time in coming but was worth waiting for.”
The 1.25-mile beach was named for actor, philosopher and cowboy Will Rogers, who once owned the beach. Rogers died in a plane crash in 1935. His widow, Betty, donated the beach to the State of California in 1946. The beach hosts 1.8 million visitors annually, and is the home to two world famous surfing point breaks, Sunset Point and Topanga Point.
Rogers’ great granddaughter Jennifer Rogers told the crowd, “My great grandfather once said, ‘Buy land – they ain’t making any more of it.’” She then noted that one of the values that had been passed down through the generations from her great grandfather was: “It’s not about what you have, but what you can give away to others.”
Yaroslavsky pointed out that it was State Senator Sheila Kuehl who “carried the legislation to rename the bike path for Marvin Braude.” The County then paid for the signage for the 22-mile path, which goes from Will Rogers State Beach to Redondo Beach. The first leg of the bike path was opened in Santa Monica.
Braude’s daughter Ann said, “This bicycle path was my father’s dream. He lived not only to see it but also to ride on it thousands of times. He had a special genius for combining his feel for public interest and his own interest, and he was really confident they were the same. Bicycling really embodied everything my father believed in. More bicycles meant less smog, less asphalt for roads, fewer parking structures, better land use, conservation of nature, personal health for those who got out of their cars and onto their bicycles, a more beautiful and healthy city and it was economical.”
Liza, Braude’s other daughter said, “We have a vision [of our parents] riding down the bike path for all eternity.”
Braude served on the Los Angels City Council for 32 years and retired in 1997. He died 18 months ago.