Friends of Griffith Park Supports Ball Fields In Griffith Park
On May 17th, a third option for ball fields in Griffith Park was put on the table by the Bureau of Engineering (BOE). At the final of three Prop K Local Neighborhood Oversight Committee (LVNOC) meetings, Cathie Santo Domingo (BOE) named Griffith Park's North Atwater Park as Option 3. This was great news to Friends of Griffith Park.
Option 1 and 2 both identify sites located in the Crystal Springs Picnic Grounds and were presented at the earlier LVNOC meetings. Mindful of the social and environmental costs associated with the Crystal Springs locations, the BOE considered various other sites in Griffith Park. In proposing a third suitable option, Bureau of Engineering affirmed an official "finding of equivalency" versus the two options originally presented. The City Attorney's office verified that Option 3 would qualify for the Prop K funding.
Friends of Griffith Park is delighted and appreciative of BOE's hard work to provide a suitable alternative to the Crystal Springs locations since Friends of Griffith Park is strongly in favor of additional ball fields in Griffith Park. Friends of Griffith Park supports Option 3, at Griffith Park's North Atwater Park. This portion of Griffith Park, like Crystal Springs, is part of the Colonel Griffith original land grant.
Reasons Friends of Griffith Park supports Option 3:
1. It is recreationally superior. The goal for Proposition K, voted in by taxpayers in 1996, is to increase recreational opportunity and use in our parks.
In our opinion, Option 1 may not achieve this goal. Because a large amount of current picnic use would be lost, the gain in baseball use actually may not even offset the loss in picnicking use. The displacement of park users for the Option 3 site at Griffith Park's North Atwater Park, is not as significant. Therefore, the net gain in recreational use would be higher for Option 3.
Crystal Springs Picnic Area is not only a traditional and historic area for picnicking, it is the only area in the Park for permit-issued large group picnics. It is also one of the few remaining area where barbeque grills are allowed. On sunny days throughout the year it is often filled with happy picnickers.
2. It is environmentally superior. According to BOE, the environmental cost of converting a large area of Crystal Springs to ball fields is high. For example, Option 1 shows that 44 trees would be affected, including numerous protected native trees (City Native Tree Protection Ordinance). The most significant tree which would need to be removed is a 48" diameter heritage sycamore. A total of 32 trees would be lost and an attempt to relocate the other 12 smaller trees would be made. Beyond the loss of trees, esthetics and desirability of the general area for picnic use would change. There is also a concern that more parking spaces would be required, further diminishing green open space.
Option 3 presents fewer environmental challenges and requires no native trees to be removed according to BOE. Parking seems to be adequate, but even if more parking was needed in the future, it could likely be solved without the loss of green open space.
Option 3 is a win-win scenario. We get more ball fields, and at the same time, preserve Crystal Springs Picnic Grounds for picnickers and existing park users.