February 5, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica’s Chess Park Set to Close

Removal of chessboards to begin February 28

By Dolores Quintana

Santa Monica’s Chess Park will soon be no more as city officials have announced plans to remove the tables and benches from this beachside destination over public safety concerns. 

Four months after the Santa Monica’s Recreation and Parks Commission voted to close the famous Santa Monica Chess Park and remove the park’s furniture, the decision was made to close the park for good as reported by the Santa Monica Lookout. After two decades, area residents’ complaints about unhoused people “overrunning” the park have caused this final closure. 

The removal of the remaining furniture including benches, tables and the collection of 67 chess boards will begin on Feb. 28 and cost the City $6,500. Assistant City Manager Susan Cline was quoted by the Lookout and said, “Staff will continue to monitor the park space once the furniture is removed to assess whether the changes have discouraged unwanted behaviors.” The park once contained a life size chess set which was a tourist attraction but only a few people use the park to play chess now. Removing the furniture will make the park a flat open space area. 

According to the Lookout, Assistant Manager Cline said, “concerns about Chess Park have been consistently raised and documented. Reports include incidents of both antisocial and criminal behavior.” that are reflected in police logs. Cline further explained that “When criminal behavior is reported or witnessed, enforcement activity follows, including arrests. Based on these reports and observations on how the park is used today, staff have evaluated modifications to Chess Park to address concerns about safety and accessibility.”

Recreation and Parks staff don’t recommend closing the park, since park space in Santa Monica is at a premium, according to Cline, but it is an option that is being considered. Other options could include reopening the park with additional safety measures or changing the purpose of the park, perhaps converting it into a “revenue generating concessions location”. Cline added that, as quoted by The Santa Monica Lookout, “Without tables and benches, Chess Park would become flexible, non-programmed beachfront open space which could be activated by diverse users.” Any new use that the park could be put to would require additional funding and recommendations from the City Council and closure would require a Coastal Development Permit from the California Coastal Commission because the park is located in the coastal area. Even an attempt to declare the property a nuisance would demand consultation with the Coastal Commission’s staff. 

Fencing the park area off is also considered an unlikely solution because, as Cline, as quoted by the Lookout, said it  “would not be visually appealing. In addition, it “would not guarantee people would not find ways to enter the space. It is not certain that closing the park and fencing the area will effectively abate quality of life issues, as it may create new opportunities for nuisance behavior on or around the site.”

Cline noted, in conclusion to her remarks in her report, as quoted by the Lookout, “Once the park’s new purpose is identified, staff can better assess costs, possible funding models, and the level of impact to other park projects.”

in News
Related Posts

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...

Girl Scout Cookie Season Returns to Los Angeles With New Cookie

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Cookie lovers throughout Greater Los Angeles can now support local Girl Scout entrepreneurs by ordering from the iconic lineup Girl...

Boris Allakhverdyan, Ben Hong and Talon Smith Unite in Santa Monica for Special Performance of Brahms’ Trio Op. 114

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Concert will take place on Sunday, February 5 The world-renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Principal Clarinet Boris Allakhverdyan and Associate Principal...

Metro’s Choice for Purple Line Muralist Sparks Veteran Concern

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Veterans concerned over disturbing painting by commissioned metro muralist at the purple line stop on the West L.A VA Soldiers...

Los Angeles Sees Increase in Kia and Hyundai Thefts Fueled by TikTok

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Social media platforms exacerbate vehicle thefts through security flaws Kia and Hyundai vehicles have become a major target for car...

Phil Brock Appointed to Serve on National League of Cities’ Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Brock will help shape NLC’s policy positions and advocate for America’s cities, towns and villages before Congress Santa Monica City...