Responding to complaints from nearby homeowners about noise and graffiti, Los Angeles County authorities have assigned four security guards and two recreation directors to Pan Pacific Park in the Fairfax District.
Plans are also under way to move the park's parking area from 1st Street, where it abuts a residential neighborhood, to a vacant lot just off Beverly Boulevard, county Supervisor Ed Edelman said last week.
The changes were introduced earlier this month, after Edelman met with neighbors who have since begun to organize into a homeowners' group.
"We respond to needs as we see them, as they are brought to our attention by the community," Edelman said. "There is no question that this was a great need."
With maintenance men starting to work at 6 a.m., the park is now staffed virtually around the clock, said Mike Mayne, one of two recreation supervisors who work out of a booth atop a slope on the western edge of the property.
"Now that people are here all the time, there aren't very many problems," he said. "We don't get a lot of complaints that I know about."
Homeowners organizer Robin Gostin said she was heartened by the additional staffing, although she was concerned that the security people may be withdrawn if the park is seen as crisis-free.
"We really did seem to make an impact, and they did seem to hear us saying that something had to be done," she said.
"Someone even saw a park patrol officer there at 11:30 at night, which is really wonderful," she said. "They never used to come before until after several phone calls."
Edelman said the increased funding of $135,000 a year for park security means that there will be at least one patrol officer on duty from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m. from Fridays through Mondays and from 2 p.m. to midnight on Tuesdays through Thursdays.
Another $34,000 was set aside to fund the assignment of recreation directors to staff the park office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, he said, and $77,000 has been earmarked for the new parking lot.
The lot is expected to yield 220 more parking places more than the 85 now available at the lot off 1st Street and Gardner Street. Plans call for it to be ready within six months, Edelman said.
As a result of the meeting with homeowners, city and county representatives are trying to resolve the confusion that sometimes arises from the propinquity of county-run Pan Pacific Park to the city's West Wilshire Recreation Area, Edelman said.
Pan Pacific is owned jointly by the city, county and the state of California and was built for joint use as a park and a flood-control basin. West Wilshire has an indoor recreation center, an outdoor basketball court, a softball diamond, a swimming pool and a library, while the larger Pan Pacific Park features grassy slopes, childrens' playgrounds, a running and jogging trail and a baseball field. There is no fence between the two parks.
The city's Department of Recreation and Parks has proposed a 3,650-square-foot extension to the West Wilshire recreation building, but Gostin said the neighbors are concerned that there will not be sufficient parking.
A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 6 on the department's request for a zoning variance that would allow it to build the additional space without having to provide 66 new parking spaces that would otherwise be required.
According to Joel Breitbart, the department's assistant general manager for planning and development, the new space would be used to create a separate senior citizen center, allowing senior citizens' activities to be held without conflicting with the use of the existing building's gymnasium for indoor basketball.
In addition, he said, senior citizens have requested separate restroom facilities.
Breitbart said much of the limited lawn space at the West Wilshire park would have to be paved over unless the parking requirements are waived.
Gostin said it might be a better idea to build a new senior citizens center on county land, but Breitbart said erecting a separate structure would probably triple the estimated cost of about half a million dollars.