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Calls for More Attention to Youth : White Point Panel Submits Final Report

February 21, 1988|SHERYL STOLBERG | Times Staff Writer

After 14 months of work, hundreds of hours of meetings and the study of dozens and dozens of documents, the White Point Citizens Advisory Committee is going out of business.

The committee Thursday submitted its final recommendation on the fate of White Point Park in San Pedro to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores.

As it had voted to do two weeks ago, the committee urged that the 102-acre park be developed by the city, primarily for passive recreational uses such as picnicking, with a small portion set aside for sports fields. The committee stressed, however, that the city should consider what other fields are available before putting any at White Point.

In so doing, the committee rejected arguments that the land should be given to the state for a park and nature preserve, or that 35 acres of it should be set aside for a sports complex. In fact, because the city has no money to develop White Point, it appears that the coastal land will, for the time being, be left alone.

"We were saying it was precious," said committee chairman Jerry Gaines. "We weren't ready to turn it into a Candlestick Park."

A spokeswoman for Flores said the councilwoman has not yet seen the report. However, when Flores appoints a committee she generally goes along with its recommendations, said Flores aide Ann D'Amato.

The 14-member citizens advisory committee, appointed jointly by Bradley and Flores in December, 1986, originally had three charges: to relocate two fields lost when the former Martin J. Bogdanovich Recreation Center was turned over to the military for housing; to find a new landmark to be named after Bogdanovich, and to determine the future of White Point, a former Nike missile site that sits on a coastal bluff, bounded roughly by Paseo Del Mar, Western Avenue and Weymouth Avenue.

The final charge sparked the most contention; one of the 14 committee members, youth sports activist Mike Lansing, even resigned during the debate, saying he felt the committee was stacked in favor of a state park.

In its final report, the committee wrote that it discovered two strong community sentiments about White Point: that people feel the park "is special in terms of its location and open space nature along the coastline," and that "there is a need to address active youth recreation facility needs within the San Pedro and harbor area."

List of Recommendations

Wednesday, during its final meeting, the committee also adopted a wide-ranging list of suggestions about harbor-area recreation. Among them:

If the city is going to spend money on athletic fields, it should do so at another San Pedro park, Angels Gate, before White Point. A new citizens committee will begin meeting Tuesday to discuss a proposed master plan at Angels Gate; the plan calls for two soccer fields to be built there.

The city should create a regional task force on youth recreation in the harbor area.

The Los Angeles Police Department should make a special effort to curb gang activity at community parks. Those who advocated a state park for White Point believed park rangers, who would have patrolled full time, are better equipped to control gang activity there than the LAPD.

Government should raise money through bond issues, grants and even from private sources to develop White Point, Angels Gate and other parks.

The city should explore giving a single agency control over White Point and two nearby beaches--one of which is managed by the state, the other by the county. Had White Point become a state park, all three areas would have been managed by the state.

Specifically at White Point, the panel recommended that the city develop picnic areas; an interpretive center for exhibits to highlight the park's military history and the Japanese abalone industry that once flourished in the area, and nature trails.

The committee also suggested the city work with the county to develop activities such as recreational diving, whale watching, fishing and tide pool exploration at the beach.

As for sports fields at White Point, the committee recommended that, after taking into account the availability of athletic fields elsewhere in the area, the city consider placing grass practice fields, or one or two soccer fields and perhaps a running track there.

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