Parks and Rec Commission Discusses Wish List
• Consulting Firm Continues to Seek Residents' Input to Assist in Creation of Updated Master Plan
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
An ice skating rink, a golf driving range and more playing fields topped the City of Malibu Parks and Recreation Commission's wish list for recreational facilities at the second of two public workshops intended to gather public input on revising the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Parks.
The 2000 Master Plan is in the process of being updated, and "the public is invited to participate" in the process of creating "a blueprint for the future goals of Malibu parks and recreation," a press release stated. "The objective is to translate the community's values and vision into an action plan for parks, trails, recreation facilities and programs."
Four members of the public attended the Feb. 16 workshop. City Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich put in a request for ball fields, listing more space for league play, lacrosse, tennis and field hockey.
She also suggested that Zuma Beach would benefit from the addition of a hockey rink, and described a rec center in Aspen, Colorado that features an indoor water park and indoor rock climbing walls.
Two members of the public requested walking and bike paths in Malibu's residential neighborhoods, one said there is a need for a safe pedestrian route connecting the Civic Center area to neighboring residential areas and suggested that the city needs an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Malibu resident Tony Schafer also mentioned walking paths. "The whole city needs walk paths. We have no bike paths. We need walking paths, bike paths," Schafer said.
The commission also discussed some of their own ideas.
"We have really good facilities, just not enough of them," Commissioner Dermot Stoker said, endorsing the ice rink idea. "Any well-run sheet of ice can handily pay for itself." He indicated that he would like to see the city generate cash to buy property for the rink for hockey, curling and ice-skating.
Stoker also suggested that a batting cage and a golf driving range could be money-spinners for the city, adding that a golf range could generate $70,000 a month for the city. "It would only take two to three acres," he said. The fees the city could charge "would still allow people to participate, not prohibitive, but would fund improvements," Stoker said, adding that a batting cage could also generate funds for the city.
"There are 140 adult softball players [who could use the batting cage]. Those types of things are not only fun, they are one more thing to do," Stoker said.
"The ocean is under-utilized as a resource," Commissioner Mark Wetton said.
"We need to fill up existing programs that we have," said Commissioner Skylar Peak, who is a candidate in the April city council election. "If they don't have participation we need to address that."
Peak suggested that the city could work with Pepperdine University to develop mentoring and tutoring programs, and reminded the commissioners and the public that access to Pepperdine's Olympic-sized pool and other athletic facilities are available to the community.
A representative of the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu suggested that the city could partner with the club to build a multi-purpose rec center. "Boyle Heights Boys and Girls Club just built a $10 million rec center," he said. "We serve pre-teens and teens. We have 100 kids a day. We could have 200."
"Land is cheaper in Boyle Heights," responded Peak.
"Malibu is facing an aging trend," Neelay Bhatt, a representative of Pros Consulting, the firm hired by the city to develop the updated plan, reminded the commissioners. "[In Malibu] people 55-plus will be 40 percent of the population," he said.
Pros Consulting will be sending questionnaires to a random sampling of Malibu residents to help the firm determine parks and rec priorities for the future.
"Almost 50 percent [of Malibu homeowners] may not live here," Conley Ulich said. "I'm concerned that [survey respondents] won't have children. Can we do petitions?"
Bhatt responded that his firm will also create an online survey and stressed that Malibu residents of all ages are encouraged to submit their ideas to Parks and Recreation Director Bob Stallings at email@example.com or 310-456-2489 ext. 225.