On Thursday, there was a Park Advisory Board meeting at Poinsettia Recreation Center. The meeting yielded several pieces of news:
First, there was the question of what happened to the iron fence on the Willoughby Avenue side of the park. It turns out that it was a case of SUV Meets Fence And Both Lose. A resident who lives next to the park reported that she heard the collision one night a few weeks ago, and went outside to see what happened. She saw that a young woman driving a large SUV had barreled up Fuller Ave. and driven right smack into the gate. Apparently the driver did not realize she was going off the street and into the park. The resident was unsure what happened to the driver (other passersby had rushed over to help her), or whether the driver was intoxicated or distracted (or both). In any event, we have to imagine that her car was totaled by the collision.
The gate should be fixed within the next few weeks.
We also heard from John Darnell, field deputy for City Council member Paul Koretz, about the improvements coming to the park. The first set of upgrades will be done by the end of this summer. (Hooray!) These include a new Community Room attached to the gymnasium building, a new gym floor, and new handicapped-accessible exterior bathrooms.
A second set of improvements will be completed late this year or early next year. These include a new jogging path around the baseball fields, new outdoor exercise equipment placed along the path, new bleachers for the fields, new equipment in the children’s playground, re-surfacing of the existing concrete and asphalt pathways, refurbishing of the basketball courts, and new lighting.
Even more upgrades will come after that, as money already allocated for the park becomes available through Prop K funds and “Quimby” funds.
Finally, we heard from the new Senior Lead Officer for the park, Officer Javier Barragan. He works for the Office of Public Safety, which patrols parks and libraries and other city facilities. Officer Barragan said that he looks forward to working the neighborhood, and encouraged people to contact him with any concerns. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. (If you see illegal activity in the park that needs to be addressed immediately, call the 24-hour OPS dispatch number, (213) 978-4670.)
He noted that the park is in excellent shape these days. Due to the hard work of OPS, the LAPD, and the community, there is virtually no crime in the park any more – a change from years ago, when some unsavory characters hung out there. Officer Barragan is committed to keeping the park safe, clean, and appealing to our neighborhood.
He also said that they have been making a concerted effort to crack down on individuals who illegally let their dogs run off-leash in the park. This is a violation of city law, and the police are actively ticketing people who engage in this dangerous behavior – especially since a park employee was recently attacked by an off-leash dog. Criminal charges are pending against that dog owner.
All in all, Poinsettia Park is doing extremely well. In a couple of years, when all of the upgrades are completed, it will be a real jewel in our neighborhood.