By Brian CHERNICK
Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Developmental Chief Jim Smith addressed the Crescenta Valley Town Council during last week’s meeting to propose and discuss the revised plans for the Two Strike Park walking trail.
The revision includes a greater focus on the west-side entrance and a layout that better meets the needs and fits the usage of the park by building along the hillside. The request for a revision came after what was seen as a disconnect and lack of communication between the La Crescenta community and the L.A. Parks Dept.
Plans to implement an improved walking trail date back as far as 2014 when initial community requests asked for a path to be built along the natural pathway on the south side of the park. When the parks department determined that in order to achieve the path seven to eight trees would be required removed or displaced, the department took it upon itself to map out what it thought to be a better plan.
It appears the new layout was not shared with the Crescenta Valley Town Council or the park’s visitors and it didn’t come to light until just before the start of the construction. That’s when members of the community took it upon themselves to look into the project and brought it to the council’s attention.
“They hadn’t even come back to us or showed us plans or anything, even as the project was coming through, “ Town Council President Leslie Dickson said. “So some well meaning residents saw what was going on and contacted us [and] Parks and we had an emergency meeting to find out what was going on.”
This forced the parks department to put the plans on hold at the last minute.
The project involved building the path north of the trees, bisecting the park where park visitors typically use the large open space for activities.
“We discovered it wasn’t going to be conducive to the way our community uses the park,” Dickson said. “The way that people put bouncers up there, use that grassy area to play, college kids play football on it – it just wasn’t going to work with the community.”
The council is now faced with determining whether the displacement of trees and providing what the community appears to want, which is a walkway along the natural path south of the trees, is worth the displacement of those seven to eight trees.
The construction will be held off a bit longer as the council assesses the presentation and community input and will return in upcoming meetings to provide a vote one way or another.