By Sue Pascoe
The L.A. Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners still has not voted to return $5,420,196 in Quimby funds to a dozen Council District 11 recreational facilities.
In a March 7 story, the News revealed that the money, which had been allocated to recreation centers and parks in Mike Bonin’s District 11, had quietly been moved to the Venice Pier Refurbishment project.
Department of Recreation and Parks Public Information Officer Rose Watson told the News in a March 29 email, “Most likely the vote will end up on the [board’s] April 18th agenda.”
In voting to reallocate those funds at a June 2017 meeting, the RAP Board took away more than $92,000 in designated money from the Palisades Recreation Center, $1 million from the Barrington Rec Center and more than $50,000 from Rustic Canyon Rec Center.
Other CD 11 facilities losing funds were the Felicia Mahood Senior Center, Glen Alla Park, Westminster Park, the Ocean Front Walk in Venice, the Venice High School pool and the Mar Vista, Oakwood, Penmar, Stoner and Westchester Recreation Centers.
The money was originally designated to those facilities through Quimby funds, which come from new-construction fees in the facility’s area.
Under Sec.12.33 Park Fees (amended April 15, 2016), “New residential dwelling units increase demand on existing park and recreational facilities and creates a need for additional facilities.”
The money acquired from fees for new construction is supposed to be used to develop new or rehabilitate existing recreational facilities within a two-mile radius specified for Neighborhood Parks.
There is an exception. The Board of RAP Commissioners can reallocate Quimby funds elsewhere if it is determined there is no need at a local park.
The Venice Pier, according to 2016 Rec and Park documents, needs major renova- tion, and $2,080,072 in Quimby funds had been allocated for the pier.
The Board report prepared for the June 2017 meeting said additional funding was needed for Venice, but “RAP staff needs to reallocate Quimby and Zone Change Fees from other Capital Improvement Projects that need to be accepted as final or cancelled.”
The RAP Board was told that Palisades and Rustic Canyon projects (unspecified) had been completed, and therefore money could be given to the Venice Pier project.
The News emailed the Palisades Rec Center in early March to see what projects had been completed. None—and parents are currently trying to raise funds to refurbish the gym.
The Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association was asked if the Facility En- hancement Project at Rustic Park had been completed. The answer was no.
Meanwhile, money had been designated for basketball-court renovations at Barrington Rec Center, but this money was now allocated to the Pier project. Was it because Rec and Parks had paid to have the courts redone? No.
The News learned that parents were told there was no money and helped raised funds to redo the inside courts in 2012. About three months ago, according to a Barrington Park employee, Archer School for Girls paid to have the outdoor courts redone.
The News first contacted Councilman Mike Bonin’s office on February 28 and asked about the Quimby funds. He responded in a March 1 email:
“When I learned from the Palisades News that Quimby funds allocated to neighborhood parks around the district, including those in Pacific Palisades, had been reallocated to help renovate the Venice Pier, I immediately asked the Department of Recreation and Parks to reverse that action.”
In order to give the money back, that has to be voted on, again, by the Board of RAP Commissioners.
Motions prepared for the March 21 RAP meeting and are online, but there was no mention of reallocating the funds. Subsequently, the meeting was cancelled.