Chatsworth Park South has become an open target for vandalism since its closing on Valentine's Day 2008, the president of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council said Wednesday.
At the Neighborhood Council's first meeting since its summer recess, Megan Cottier, district director for Councilman Mitch Englander, gave an update on the park saying the city is working to get it open as quickly as possible.
She said that cleanup of lead contamination in the soil had to be done despite complaints from some residents over the delay in reopening the park.
"Whether we agree or disagree that [the lead] will actually cause us harm, it's got to be cleaned up because it's state law," Cottier said.
She said Los Angeles and California state officials had negotiated plans for the park cleanup, noting that the process would be "very extensive and cost a lot of money."
Cottier could not give a date for opening the park.
Neighborhood Council President André van der Valk was concerned about the opportunities for criminal activity the closure created. He said as long as the park stayed closed, instances of vandalism and break-ins would continue to happen.
"It's just an open target for vandalism. We're just sitting here, waiting for things to get broken into," Van der Valk said.
Van der Valk said the museum operated by the Chatsworth Historical Society had already been burglarized along with the gymnasium.
A gym storage room that held several wheelchairs for a team of disabled basketball players was vandalized. However, even though the park is closed, the $100,000 gym floor was replaced through Proposition K indebtedness in March 2009.
Cottier said the city was planning to install alarms that would help cut down on crime at the park. But when Neighborhood Council board members asked if a caretaker could be hired to help protect the facility, Cottier said this wasn't possible because of the contamination.
Cottier tried to reassure the Council that city was taking the cleanup seriously.
"We are aggressively moving forward to get the park open," she said.
The park has been closed since 2008 due to the lead content that was discovered in the soil -- the property was once owned by cowboy movie icon Roy Rogers, .