Opinion: It’s Time for the City to Open Plummer Park

      

It is time for the city to open up Plummer Park.  As the state’s stay at home orders are loosening, allowing the opening of beaches and hiking trails, it seems a bit absurd not to open up West Hollywood’s parks.

Rather than force West Hollywood’s residents to get in a car to enjoy some open space, it just seems logical that we should be allowed to use our parks.  The loss of Plummer Park has been particularly painful given that so many Eastside residents don’t have yards or access to open spaces.  Plummer Park has functioned almost as an extension of their homes.  The closure of Plummer Park has been particularly disruptive for seniors and families with children. 

I am not saying that we abandon our efforts to protect the public from COVID-19, but given the numbers, we need to start allowing adults to make their own decisions within certain guidelines.  We can require that adult park users wear masks, that they maintain a certain amount of social distancing and ask that people limit their use of the park to an hour a day so that everyone can safely use the park.  I am not sure if the basketball courts should be opened, but I think that perhaps we should let the athletically inclined make that choice themselves. The work out bars in Plummer Park should be open, but encourage people to wear gloves and have park staff wipe down the area hourly. . Maybe the city could sponsor social-distanced yoga classes in the mornings.  It should not be such a challenge to get the “Creative City” to act creatively. 

I think we could also open up our dog parks, including the facilities in West Hollywood Park, but limit the number of people who are inside the enclosures.  As long as we have staff to properly monitor the dog parks, we should be able to do this safely. 

We could re-deploy the private uniformed security to gently encourage proper social distancing and safe behavior in the park.  We also have plenty of city employees who are being under-utilized yet are still being paid.  I am sure their union would help find employees who may want to work in the parks to supplement existing park staff on a temporary basis.  I believe there are plenty of city employees who would be willing to serve the community in this fashion.  We could even use volunteers or hire high school students to be summer park monitors. 

 I was disappointed that once the city closed the auditorium in West Hollywood Park it did not make it available for a temporary homeless shelter or at least a homeless drop in center.  It does not appear that many of the people who live on Santa Monica Boulevard are getting much by way of services during this crisis.

While the council recently voted to close the West Hollywood auditorium to expedite its demolition to speed the construction of our new park facilities, there is no reason why it could not be spared for a few weeks so we could allow our recovery community to stage socially distanced meetings in the building.  I would also have the city open Fiesta Hall and Great Hall for the same purpose.  We could allowing meetings from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and have staff available to wipe down metal chairs between meetings.  The social isolation of people in recovery has been a huge challenge, and meeting space where people can safely socially distance is in short demand.  It seems a shame that the most creative use for these buildings during the COVID crisis is to simply close them. 

Ideally the City Council could vote to expedite the opening of our parks at the June 15 meeting.  If you want the parks to be opened, then contact City Council to get this process started. 


11 Comments
  1. Agree. Open the parks immediately. They should have never been closed. The COVID paranoia is overblown.

  2. Open the parks. If people can choose to dine, shop, groom and next week, go to the gym, then they can decide how to use the parks.

    1. I just have concerns that the City is reluctant to open the parks as a knee jerk reaction to Trump’s insistence that everything should open up to help the economy.

  3. The parks in our city……have become housing for the homeless. They smell like urine and attract the wrong element.
    The quality of life here gets worse every year.

  4. I think it could be tried on a trial basis I don’t think the basketball courts should be re-opened as that game doesn’t lend itself to social distancing. With the off leash dog parks, I don’t think we have the space for social distancing and I think we’d have to strictly limit the number of people allowed in & make sure that no one is taking their dog in & leaving them there unsupervised.. There would have to be staff present with the authority to remove anyone who is not wearing a mask & not practicing social distancing. If it turns out that more are not than are, they park would have to be re-closed until the numbers in LA County really begin to fall

  5. In this time of great uncertainty people find great comfort in services that will help alleviate added Mental Health stress caused by the crisis, it would be important to also have a food bank in public spaces to address all the economic future unknowns we will find ourselves in.

  6. Yes it is ridiculous for Lindsey and her tone deaf band to keep these parks closed. Did they not notice this week’s events? That’s what happens when you confine people to small apartments and not allow them into our beautiful open spaces?
    Let’s hear it for the band!

  7. I agree! Open up Plummer Park and we have at least one park to enjoy the shade under those giant trees! (speaking as resident and not speaking as chair of public facilities commission)

      1. PLEASE allow Plummer Park to to reopen. All of the above replys make sense. West Hollywood are you listening?

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