February 7, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica’s Chess Park Will Be Closed Due to Criminal Activity

Recreations and Park Commission votes to shut down park for indefinite time

By Dolores Quintana

Santa Monica’s Chess Park, a relic of the days when playing chess games in a park was a popular pastime, will have its signature chess tables and benches removed and the park will be closed for an indefinite period to deal with the safety issues and criminal behavior that have plagued the park for years. 

The members of the Recreations and Park Commission have finally voted to take action to deal with the issues that the park has attracted to the neighborhood, as reported by the Santa Monica Daily Press.

Commission Vice Chair Maryanne LaGuardia said, “They’ve already had stabbings, they’ve already had serious injuries, there is active prostitution going on right now. I think the best first step is to close it. I say that with great reluctance, but I don’t know what else we can do.” 

Chess Park is located at 1652 Ocean Front Walk and is set on .29 acres of land, just to the east of the famed Santa Monica Pier and Carousel and slightly to the west of the equally famous Muscle Beach workout area. The centerpiece of the park is a life sized chess board with life sized chess pieces that can be checked out to play a game of human sized proportions. Each of the tables is set with anywhere from one to four chess boards to facilitate multiple games per table. It’s a remarkable setup for chess lovers and unfortunately, the unsavory behavior of local unhoused people with violence, sexual activity, mental breakdowns, and tables covered with their belongings has made it difficult for the park to be utilized for its intended purpose. 

“Chess Park has been a longstanding subject of discussion at the Recreation and Parks Commission. Commissioners have requested more police patrols, increased engagement from the Homeless Liaison Program and the installation of a blue light emergency call box. None of these changes materialized in an impactful manner,” said Recreation and Parks Chair Lori Brown.

Nearby apartment building residents have not been happy with the conditions of the park and the element that the park has drawn to the area. 

“I am calling in because well frankly Chess Park isn’t safe anymore. It used to be one of my favorite places to go, but the last time I did try to go there someone threatened me with physical harm, threatened to kill me,” said 13-year-old resident Lucky Bisary as quoted by the Santa Monica Daily Press.

After the Commission meeting and the testimony from locals, the vote to close the park, remove the tables and benches, and put up a fence around the area was unanimously approved. The thought among the Commission board members is that the park should be updated for new uses, especially because of the upcoming Olympics Beach Volleyball competition that will take place nearby. The Recreation and Parks Commission will vote at a later time on what that use will be after taking into consideration the input from Santa Monica residents. The Santa Monica City Council will make the final determination after hearing the Recreation and Parks Commission findings.

in Crime, News
Related Posts

Sofia Klatzker Named Cultural Affairs Manager of Santa Monica

February 6, 2023

February 6, 2023

Klatzker to replace Shannon Daut in role to oversee arts, culture and creative policies in the City Sofia Klatzker has...

Duo Charged for Alleged Caregiver Fraud Scheme Against Malibu Physician Who Was Drugged With LSD in Final Days

February 6, 2023

February 6, 2023

Anthony David Flores and Anna Rene Moore face up to 20 years in prison A Fresno hairstylist and an actress...

Metro Working on Plan to Provide Shelter for Homeless Passengers When Trains Are Emptied

February 6, 2023

February 6, 2023

Metro estimates that 800 people use Metro train and rapid transit bus stations as shelter each night By Dolores Quintana...

Arrests Made in Daylight Armed Robbery of Rolex in Downtown Santa Monica

February 6, 2023

February 6, 2023

Leroy McCrary and Donta Baker arrested in connection to September robbery By Sam Catanzaro Two men have been arrested for...

Santa Monica Nonprofit WISE & Healthy Aging Launches Advocacy Website

February 6, 2023

February 6, 2023

WISEOmbudsman.org designed to provide tools s to those who are looking to get better care in a skilled nursing or...

Tishman Speyer Announces Basis Investment Group as Equity Partner for Santa Monica Collection

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

BIG’s $30 million commitment — 11 percent of total equity — to the 3.1-acre mixed-use development will help create 617...

Two Industry Titans Invest $30M in Lavish Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica Homes

February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

David Bonderman and Christa Campbell recently acquired two lavish homes By Dolores Quintana Private equity tycoon David Bonderman and his...

Four-Year-Old Mountain Lion P-81 Found Dead on PCH

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

P-81 found on Pacific Coast Highway near Las Posas Road On Sunday, January 22, the California Department of Fish and...

Rep. Lieu Secures $2.5 Million for Local Projects in Santa Monica

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

Funding will go towards Santa Monica Behavioral Health Center and Ready to Succeed Scholarship program  By Sam Catanzaro ​​Congressman Ted...

Steve Marcy, Beloved Lincoln Middle School Teacher and Scoutmaster, Passes Away at 77

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

Longtime Lincoln math teacher passes away  ​​Steve Marcy, beloved Lincoln Middle School teacher and Scoutmaster of Santa Monica Boy Scout...

California Referendum Postpones Controversial Fast Recovery Act That Would Increase Hourly Wages for Fast-Food Workers to $22

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

AB 257 would create a board of 11 appointees to negotiate on behalf of fast food workers in California Last...

Highly-Anticipated Downtown Santa Monica Restaurant Close to Opening

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

Bar Monette close to opening at 109 Santa Monica Boulevard By Dolores Quintana Bar Monette is almost ready to open...

SMC Receives Grant to Expand Access to Critical Support Services for Foster Youth

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

New NextUp program will provide academic & comprehensive support, plus direct financial aid to foster youth enrolled at SMC Santa...

Find Inspiration in Moses Sparks’ Latest Collection of Tree Portraits in the Santa Monica Mountains

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

The exhibition and sale run from February 1st – 26th at the King Gillette Ranch Visitor Center  Internationally-acclaimed wildlife photographer,...

Pacific Park Joins The City Of Santa Monica To Recognize ‘Black History Month’ With Ferris Wheel Salute

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

Display of red, yellow and green colors, patterns and transitions beginning at sunset February 1 On Wednesday, February 1, the...