As you may have heard, Santa Monica is currently planning to expand Memorial Park northward into the 3 acres formerly known as the Fisher lumber site currently being used as storage of City maintenance equipment and vehicles. SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow) proposes this plan for the expanded park to achieve the original objectives of expanded field space:
• 6 baseball fields with sizes appropriate to the different game types
• 4 tennis courts that could also be used for pickle ball
• preserves the Police Activities League building and the existing main gym to be air-conditioned
• adds a perimeter tree lined walking path and miscellaneous picnic areas, dog park, children’s playground, etc.
• Increased parking from about 70 cars to about 90 cars
• Meets the City’s goal of underground rain water storage in the northwest park corner
In addition it has several other advantages. 1) It has a park like feel with winding paths, substantial trees, bermed and landscaped areas, and more leisurely uses instead of feeling like a hyper-efficient baseball complex. 2) This park like feel and uses will be very important to adjacent residents projected mixed-use development starts to wrap itself around the 17th Street light rail station in future decades. 3) It offers the thousands of riders on the light rail the pleasure of a direct view into the baseball games when their trains slow down or leave the 17th street station. 4) It offers the flexibility of future underground expansion of the parked cars allowing for expanded tennis, gym, or other facilities along the west edge without disrupting the rest of the park uses. 5) It offers the future flexibility of expansion directly across the relatively quiet 16th street if the City acquires more land (eg the School District property) to meet future increased recreation demands.
But the main advantage of this plan is that it is the cheapest and quickest to build of the alternatives currently being considered because it is the least disruptive to the current park fabric. Essentially the entire southern half of the existing park could continue to operate unchanged while the northern half is remodeled and expanded. Santa Monica College has $20,000,000 of our bond money that could be put toward this park so that it might be able to be completed with or without additional funding in just a few years. Cheap, fast, and effective – what’s not to like?
Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow. Ron Goldman, FAIA; Mario Fonda-Bonardi, AIA, Planning Commissioner; Dan Jansenson Building and Safety Commissioner, Architect; Thane Roberts, AIA; Bob. Taylor, AIA; Sam Tolkin, Architect