If you live in Malibu, as I do, you have to love Bluffs Park, with it engaging range of out door diversions on a spectacular site with stunning views
Physically, it is one of the outstanding features on Malibu’s singular seacoast, and a treasured public open space, in all of California.
But politically, for the poorly served city government, it is a swamp. into which City Hall appears to be sinking, as witnessed at the recent council meetings, as I comment on public radio 97.5 KBU, cityobserved, and select websites, and in the LOCAL.
A prime problem is the park’s proposed plans, which after much fumbling and feinting is an ambitious, if not unrealistic, wish lists of facilities. This includes a few new ball fields, an aquatic center, a skateboard board park, a dog park, and more parking
The problem: not only there were no price estimates; worse, the Coastal Commission staff took strong exception to the proposed excessive facilities, and their sitting compromised the Bluffs’ environmentally sensitive acreage and an unstable slope. I
In short, the woeful plan was given faint hope of approval by the Commission.
City Hall had to expect this; they had been cautioned, but as is the city’s s.o.p., the pubic was deluded. All those planning sessions, consultant fees, and council posturing, they are long gone and forgotten.
Nevertheless, the council called for a hearing, and out came the persevering proponents of open space, as well as the ever-hopeful coaches and kids. But before pleading their causes they had to first suffer through hours of strained poetry and murky engineering.
All this also was for naught, just as the past hearings had been, for the facilities most likely wont be built on the Bluffs and if the city keeps bungling, sadly nowhere. The open space advocates will win by default, sadly because many also are in favor of the sports facilities, as long as Bluffs Park is left as is.
Or is it bungling? Maybe its bad advice? Or maybe City Hall really doesn’t want to build it, but instead just keep it on their desks shuttling between the in-and out baskets, as bureaucratic busy work.
It is not like the there is some special private interests promoting ball fields, or as in the past like a water treatment plant to satisfy an E.I.R to accommodate more civic center development and serve nearby luxury housing. Then cover it with earth, some plants, call it a park, and let the city pay for it.
Actually, what is now Legacy Park was once considered for the needed ball fields some 20 years by the city’s Parks and Rec Commission, on which not incidentally I as a little league coach was then serving.
But City Hall back then had its own private agenda, worked out a deal with a few deep-pocketed property owners, and buried the ball fields for the treatment plant. Lots of money was involved.
So here we are again, searching for sites for sports facilities. Bluffs Park isn’t going to work.
Maybe we can renegotiate and reconstruct Legacy for the needed ball fields, or buy some civic center sites instead of seeing them go for not-needed malls? And certainly one or two can easily fit onto Trancas Field without disturbing the neighbors?
The search certainly is going to be a test of Malibu’s moxie and civic will.