Lacy Park, which was closed on weekends for almost 10 years, has been open every Saturday for two months, with an average attendance of about 170, according to City Manager John Nowak.
In an unusual arrangement designed to eliminate overcrowding and encourage local family use, San Marino permits its residents to enter the park free on Saturdays but charges outsiders $3 each. Records show that less than one-quarter of those who use the park on Saturdays are non-residents.
Nowak said regular Saturday park use is the same as it was for several months last year when the city experimented with opening it only one Saturday a month. It costs the city about $400 each Saturday for the salary of employees who monitor the gates and patrol the grounds.
Lacy Park was closed on weekends in the late 1970s because of budget cuts due to Proposition 13. Residents had also complained about crowds of up to 3,000 on weekends, and police said there was criminal activity and drug use.
The park reopened on Saturdays in response to residents' complaints that although their taxes paid for park upkeep, they couldn't use it on weekends. City Council members say they hope to open the park on Sundays in the future.