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VIDEO: Chatsworth Park South Gymnasium to Reopen, Englander Says

Councilman is seeking suggestions as to how the park should be redeveloped.

"We're going to have the gymnasium open by the beginning of the year," Councilman Mitch Englander told a crowd of about 150 gathered Thursday to hear plans for Chatsworth Park South.

The park has been closed since Valentine's Day, 2008, when lead and other contaminants were found in the soil. Local residents, sporting stickers on their chests, have been counting the days since the park was shuttered. As of Thursday, the stickers reminded everyone that it has been 1,707.

Englander said there is lead contamination at the gym, which will be cleaned up. Vandalism will be repaired. He said the new $80,000 gym floor, which was installed with Prop. K funds after the park was closed, was undamaged.

The parking lot will be reopened, but access to the rest of the park will be closed until remediation is complete. However, he cautioned that the gym would be closed again when the process of removing contaminated topsoil begins.

Fifty years ago, the property was a skeet range frequented by local resident and cowboy star Roy Rogers. The pollutants come from buckshot and broken clay pigeons at the firing range.

Englander is seeking public comment on how the park should be redeveloped when it reopens. Click here to participate in an online park survey.

Representatives from the city Parks Department and the state Department of Toxic Substances Control manned tables in the Mason Park recreation center where the meeting was held. Rather than a general question and answer session, residents were invited to take their queries directly to the officials manning the tables.

There were also maps of park redevelopment proposals. One plan would provide for equestrian use. Another featured walkways and hiking trails. See PDFs of the concepts in the box above.

Read More about Chatsworth Park South:

  • Park Tainted by Lead from Roy Rogers' Days May Reopen
  • Chatsworth's Homestead Acre Is an L.A. Cultural Monument
  • Teen Rescued After Fall at Chatsworth Park South
  • Neighborhood Council Backs Action on State Historic Park
  • Chatsworth Park South a Target for Vandalism
  • No Reopening Date Yet for Chatsworth Park South
  • City Presses Forward to Open Chatsworth Park South
  • Parts of Chatsworth Park South Might Open as Soon as This Summer
  • Fire Hazard to be Removed Soon from Chatsworth Park South
  • Have Opinions on Opening Chatsworth Park South? Get a Survey Here
  • Chatsworth Neighborhood Council Tackles a List of Local Issues

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Tom Nachtrab October 19, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Yesterday was a good meeting. And today is day #1,708.
Samuel Goldstein October 20, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Please tell the City and the DTSC to clean up this park to the proper standard of rural residential (horse property homestead), and make it safe and sane for all activities associated with a park like this such as: picnicking, equestrian usage, mountain biking, hiking, trail running, athletic fields, a clean creek that does not have any water from the railroad tunnel, and especially install wheelchair pathways throughout. This is a gem of a place, let's make it special so all can enjoy.
Samuel Goldstein October 20, 2012 at 02:54 AM
A better planned trail system than currently proposed is smarter and makes more sense -- such as, a master-planned trail network that intelligently links Chatsworth Park South with (1), Chatsworth Park North; (2), the State Park on the south (take down that longstanding south-by-southwest boundary chain link fence seen next to the present-day equestrian trail in order to open up BOTH parks, STATE AND CITY -- TOGETHER) with horse trails linking over to the Larwin Avenue entrance, upper MWD Pumphouse road, and Stagecoach trails, and REMOVE THE UNUSED OVERHEAD POWERLINES THAT HAVE BEEN AN EYESORE FOR YEARS AND YEARS ALONG JEFFREY MARK COURT ALL THE WAY TO ROCKETDYNE; (3), the State Park on the north beyond the railroad with links to Santa Susana Pass Road and NUEVO CIELO STAGECOACH ROAD; (4), construction of a new BMX course where there used to be one; (5), construction of a new mountain bike trail linking to Lilac Lane kiosk entrance way as an alternate route to the dangerous Stagecoach road; (6), bringing back fishing to the park and refilling the ponds; (7), incorporation with the Rim of the Valley trail system with access via a central park trailhead and kiosk with maps; (8), stopping the daily flow of 4400 gallons of water that illegally poison the park with future contamination from Rocketdyne such as trichloroethylene and radioactive tritium; (10), completely restoring habitat loss and monitoring all wildlife including birds.
Samuel Goldstein October 20, 2012 at 03:12 AM
But first; people, chill out on an 'open-right-now-at-this-instant-at-any-cost' attitude. This is long term clean up. Water utilities wish to repair and upgrade their feeder lines which involves excavation. That takes time, plenty of time. Plan, plan, plan, and plan some more. Else the park will turn into an poorly-planned drug-dealing mecca as before. By the way, it is time to also renovate Chatsworth Park North, that place is special too. The Chatsworth Park NORTH portion of the western end of Chatsworth Street has been shuttered for decades now. All over the rest of Chatsworth Park NORTH are located pathways crumbling away in ruins. Facilities are decrepit. The parking lot is in shambles and the speed bumps shred tires off of automobiles. CPS and CPN are the same park -- time to cleanup and give both the facelift they deserve. Enough of the neglect already...
Samuel Goldstein October 20, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Beware a dorky new park. Fight for the proper plan. Our kids deserve better playgrounds. And above all else, please demand cleanup to the rural residential standard for Chatsworth Park South.
Samuel Goldstein October 20, 2012 at 03:14 AM
PS. Also, be careful for what you wish for. Police helicopters will inevitably increase their noisy presence over the bedrooms of residential units next to the parks once the dope fiends discover their park is open again. Crime will also skyrocket when word gets out that the park is open, as this place is easily accessed via car on major thoroughfares... Cartels flock to CPS. Believe it.
Samuel Goldstein October 20, 2012 at 03:25 AM
PPS. Mr. Englander, crime fighting plans are required in your proposals, the types of plans that do not repeat the noisy disruptions of past years -- lest suffer an ugly lawsuit from the Rockpointe HOA President. Fire fighting plans need to be mentioned as well. Where will the sheriff's rescue helicopter land? How will you flush people out of the parks at night? Who will protect the park with Devonshire Division being miles away? How will you keep a lid on rampant drug trafficking at the park? Move your family to the CPS neighborhood and learn for yourself. Be a smart cop, please... Be a smart elected and plan intelligently. It would be most appreciated. Thank you.
Chris Berwager October 20, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Some very good points brought up by Samuel in those last 2 posts, especially the last one.
Tina Underhill October 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Once the cartel regains the park, the Englander / Smith LAPD will once again disappear, I can give you that one, Sam. When the park was open, it became a homeless encampment and a druggie meth-head hangout where gym employees would smoke pot for days on end and pander dope to YOUTH from INSIDE the building instead of checking out basketballs. Hypodermic needles were regularly discovered in the sand under the playground swings. Dept of Public Safety would often leave the front gates open all night and fail to clear the park out of fear. Coyotes ran rampant, attacking park patrons and consuming countless felines in broad daylight. Since the 1970s, the drone of choppers flying close overhead have been nauseating, to say the least, especially during the warmer months when windows are opened to let in cooler night air, as this part of the valley oftentimes exceeds 105 degrees. Where dope heads roamed the abundant rocks and boulders within North and South parks, helicopters reigned supreme. Not one black and white patrol car is ever seen, only a continuous drone of police choppers night after night. Peace to a point arrived Valentines Day 2008 when CPS was closed. That was no way to police a park then and WILL NOT BE ACCEPTABLE IN THE FUTURE.
Tina Underhill October 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM
Homestead Acre hysterical types cried foul, but these shortsighted hobby-activists do not have a clue what it is to actually LIVE next to Chatsworth Park South, and even care less if regular lead contamination, and et al. is carried into homes where children reside, adjacent thereto. The Santa Ana Winds here can be fierce and lead dust is everywhere in those residences. The poisonous firing range contamination floods over Shadow Oaks Drive then spills onto Devonshire Street then Larwin Avenue then on and into Rockpointe townhomes – and this poison flood has been occurring since the late 1960s to date. Raining like cats and dogs is no joke here, for there have been torrential downpours lasting weeks, not just days -- Wet Year 2006 was a recent occurrence. The mud alone can be feet thick and easily over-tops the City's curbs making the avoidance of tracking firing range contaminants into homes impossible. It's simple, really: when the hillsides and debris fields saturate and become mobile, the firing range contamination is now in the garages and living rooms of these residents.
Tina Underhill October 21, 2012 at 11:07 AM
The Historical Society certainly has not endeavored to proactively encourage a sane cleanup effort. Why? Because key Chatsworth Historical Society Homestead Acre members are the direct descendants of the Palmer-Hill clan that originally bamboozled the City into buying up their adulterated firing range land. Now they are trying to cover their tracks, (ie., via a misplaced guilt trip) but won't get away with it and their silly yet immature '1707' day count scam as employed at the moment. That is, unless one is ignorant enough to let them. I actually pity those fools.
Tina Underhill October 21, 2012 at 11:08 AM
There is a lot of cleanup ahead. Time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and make certain the place is free of all that nasty dioxin, lead, arsenic, TCE, furans, PAHs, antimony and more. Demand a more thorough testing regimen involving further extensive testing. By way of an example, follow the stormflow to the dog run area, and discover more contamination there too -- demand DTSC test the dog run. There are areas that still remain unsampled within the park and upon state lands as well. Remember, we're talking decades of firing range debris – thousands upon thousands of pounds of the dangerous waste. This poison was trucked, shoveled, wheel barreled, bulldozed, and otherwise spread about in places beyond your wildest imagination at the whim of range operatives well before the time of boundary-marking chain link fencing as casually observed today. Mother Nature would then move the poisons far and wide – including dissolving solid forms of poison into liquid forms of additional poisons above and below the surface. Just because you cannot see it on top of the ground does not mean that it does not exist in liquid or solid form below ground level. Visit the Santa Susana Creek Flood Channel at Devonshire and Valley Circle (Northwest corner) -- you can clearly see the CPS firing range / Tunnel 26 poison flow reemerge by bubbling up through the concrete bottom of the channel, a major tributary of the Los Angeles River --this in violation of the Clean Water Act.
Tina Underhill October 21, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Indeed, the cleanup will take time and effort to complete (and a bit of character).
Zeagler October 21, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Hey thanks Samuel. Thanks, Tina. Without these illustrious comments, many would be in the dark to learn the goings-on. Decision makers are you listening? For your sakes, I certainly hope so! My comment today pertains to horses and equestrian activities. For well over 100 years, Chatsworth has been a horse friendly kind of town, just drive around and see what I mean. Corrals and stables are everywhere such as Farralone Avenue and Tulsa Street including a nice bridal path along the north side of Chatsworth Street as it leads from Canoga Avenue (including further points east) then on over to Chatsworth Park North. Trouble is, there is absolutely no horse path linking the North park with the South park even though a partial path exists near the western dead end of Germain Street on CPN land. A completed equestrian path is required to provide equestrian access between the two parks as horses and pavement don't mix (think texting drivers and jam-packed CPN parking lot, especially on weekends).
Zeagler October 21, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Chatsworth Park South has an equestrian trail beginning at the Devonshire Street entrance. Sadly, this horse path is not popular for reasons including: a contaminated water source in the park polluted with heaven knows what; no bridal path linking it with the State Park entrance off Larwin Avenue or MWD Pumphouse Road or points south, west, and north of the State Park; no safe entry way as Devonshire lacks any type of horse path whatsoever even though nearby Valley Circle Blvd does; disrepair; fumes and poison emitting from the firing range grounds that horses sense and do not like much at all. Master planning the connecting of disjointed bridal paths with the Chatsworth City of LA parks North and South plus, of course, the State Historic Park only makes sense. Horseback riding belongs in this nook of the valley, and with the beautiful nearby parkland, it would be a shame not to have a feasible network of equestrian trails and bridal paths linking area stables with those wide open exercise and recreational areas that only the parks can provide. I hope that you agree and write the Councilmember.
Robert G October 30, 2012 at 06:57 AM
Get some help. There has never been any recorded sickness or Real contaminants from the park. Leave the park as is. You talk of fishing, then of trichloroethylene and radioactive tritium. Well, Which is it. If you don't like the park as it is in it's beauty, feel free to go elsewhere
Jane Clarke October 30, 2012 at 11:21 PM
“A historical photograph of the entrance to the facility...” “The signage states: 'Roy Rogers Sports Center Home of Aqua Sierra Gun Club. Trap, Skeet and Hi-Tower Shooting – Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Golf and Fishing Everyday – Trout, Bass, Bluegill, Catfish.' ” Quoted above from the PDF as found here: http://www.envirostor.dtsc.ca.gov/regulators/deliverable_documents/8645725846/741.CPS.SSI.PEA.rpt.12.2010-Pages%201-284.pdf So, “as is” really does include fishing. Thank you Sam for pointing this out. It would be great to open the ponds again, right? I mean since they are (insanely) opening the recreation building, basketball & tennis courts, then why not bring back fishing?
Tina Underhill October 31, 2012 at 06:20 AM
S->P->R->E->A->D->I->N->G (of arsenic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxin, lead, furans, more...) is what happens when we act like ostriches and bury our intellects in the sand. The longer the poison sits, the worse it gets. The longer the poison sits, the bigger the subsurface plume of it grows and grows as rains arrive, year in and year out. The longer the poison sits, we balloon a cleanup bill now into the millions of dollars. The longer the poison sits, the more wildlife suffers a painful death -- endlessly (especially birds). The longer the poison sits, the more it SPREADS thanks to Tunnel 26 dewatering (and the toxins in THAT nasty water horses and dogs refuse to drink, but sheeple encourage their children to play in).
Tina Underhill October 31, 2012 at 06:20 AM
1970s. Bulldozers met multiple mud-mixed-with-contamination-debris-flows in the proximity of Devonshire Street and Farralone Avenue caused by heavy El Nino torrential downpours (the rains would not let up for days). Guess what was done then? The poison was pushed back through the city streets and into the park where it was all dumped on over 200-plus acres of City and now also State lands -- tons and tons of it. From Jeffrey Mark Court on the south to the railroad on the north, and from Rockpointe on the east at Valley Circle Blvd to all the way up the western boundaries of the park and well onto current State Historic Park land, this contamination was intentionally laid to rest. It's not simply located in a confined area -- this poison is EVERYWHERE.
Tina Underhill October 31, 2012 at 06:20 AM
This is not a park. This area is a toxic dump. Period. 1980s. Construction of park facilities continue. Grass was simply added as a cover over the poison, a type of facade as it were. Trees were planted. Foundations mixed; tots playgrounds constructed; picnic areas located -- all upon poisonous soil. Someone THEN must have known SOMETHING -- indeed, that SOMETHING was amiss. Why couldn't that person have been YOU? 1990s. More time goes by. Where were YOU? Finally, in the 2000s, the whistle is blown. But, YOU! Where were YOU all this time? Getting high in the park???
Tina Underhill October 31, 2012 at 06:25 AM
“We can deny reality, but we can't deny the consequences of denying reality.” ― Richard Paul Evans
Tina Underhill October 31, 2012 at 06:36 AM
See above "Leave the park as is" by who-is-it-now-why-no-full-name-Robert-G? Not going to happen on my watch. Putting lipstick on a pig solves nothing -- you're still left with a pig, even after all the deniers finally give up and leave town.
Jane Clarke November 03, 2012 at 03:58 AM
*** Definition *** Contaminant: Any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substance such as an element, compound, mixture, solution, etc., that can be found in any media (air, water, soil) that may be harmful to human health or have adverse effects on the environment. My concern is for cleanup priorities not being shifted to residential homes and other places such as schools and day cares where children have been or still are being exposed. Has anyone raised the issue to DTSC and the Los Angeles Regional Water Board that homes, day cares, and schools downwind or down gradient of Chatsworth Park South are at risk and need sampling of air, soils, ground water, surface water, storm water, and blood? PAHs can easily vapor intrude, as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons are known to cause pulmonary distress in utero (developing babies in the womb). This places pregnant mothers and young children at greatest risk. Perhaps this explains why there is so much asthma in young kids around here. Further, LEAD from Chatsworth Park is a known neurotoxin that has interrupted normal brain development and has been linked to behavioral problems in children. Indeed, all it takes is a simple interview of neighborhood teachers and you will learn of massive amounts of kids with learning disabilities in area classrooms.
Jane Clarke November 03, 2012 at 03:59 AM
On a hospital pulmonary ward, where breathing can no longer be taken for granted, the effects of day-to-day air pollution are obvious, dramatic, and frightening. Prove to me Mr. or Ms. Denier that the contamination in the park has no role to play in what I am seeing in the ICUs these days. You can't. But we know for a fact that lead, dioxin, PAHs, arsenic, furans, antimony, tritium, and TCE are the cause of what in seen today in local hospitals – I know this as a FACT. Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults. The first 6 years, particularly the first 3 years, of life is the time when the brain grows the fastest and when the critical connections in the brain and nervous system that control thought, learning, hearing, movement, behavior, and emotions are formed. The normal behavior of children at this age – crawling, exploring, teething, putting objects in their mouth – puts them into contact with any lead that is present in their environment. If you CARE about the kid or kids in your life, then please care enough to demand cleanup at the rural residential standard for Chatsworth Park South.

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