The May 11, 2015 Culver City Council meeting proved that resident’s voices are heard, particularly when there are lots of them. The billboard plan was removed from the ‘Hospitality and Entertainment District’ proposal, to the relief and satisfaction of the twenty -five people who had signed up to speak to that agenda item.
But before action items were even addressed, there were many East Culver City neighbors who came to speak to the changes happening at Sid Kronenthal Park. While the item on the consent calendar was only a finalization of the contract for the current work, it called out a contingent of residents deeply unhappy with the changes that had been made to the baby and toddler playground.
Parks and Recreation Director Daniel Hernandez was responsive to the complaints, but offered that “the $60,000 left in the budget would not be enough to cover the probably $100,000 cost of rehabilitating [the current structure] .” The problem was simply that the previous structure had ‘aged-out’ and even replacement parts were no longer available. The new play equipment is targeted towards older children. Almost a dozen neighbors, many with very small children in their arms, spoke of how essential the park was to their neighborhood. It was concluded that a meeting needed to happen, at Sid Kronenthal Park, so that the neighbors could talk with Parks and Rec staff, and council would attend as well, to facilitate solutions.
The action item seeking to create a post of Poet Laureate for the city of Culver City was handed over to the Cultural Affairs Commission so they could create a definition of the post, and from there, open the process to applications.
When the ‘Hospitality and Entertainment District’ came up for discussion, council member Jeff Cooper took the bull by the horns, saying ” We’ve had a lot of input from the community about this signage component in this plan, and I think we can address that part of the plan right now – I’d like to hear from the council where we are with that.”
Both Mayor Mehaul O’Leary and Council Member Andy Weissman expressed their opinions that billboards were not needed and would keep the plan from being realized owing to the community’s aversion to the advertising.
So, before the presentation had even begun, the widely reviled billboards were banished.
A powerpoint presentation on how the designated area could be revitalized with greenbelts, pedestrian friendly areas, and a sense of designating the entryway to Culver City with some sense of aesthetic included an idea to turn the freeway offramp from the northbound 405 as a kind of ‘red carpet.’
With council approval, the redevelopment and revitalization of the Fox Hills/ Centinela area may create the kind of desirable destination that Downtown Culver City is now known for – without blocking the skyline.