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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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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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