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CALABASAS : City Names 8-Acre Park After Explorer

March 12, 1994|KURT PITZER

The Calabasas City Council has named the city's planned showcase park after Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and approved plans for a nature center there with stunning views of the Santa Monica Mountains.

The 3-year-old city's first major public works project is expected to open as early as 1995, with a 2,400-square-foot recreation and nature center and trails leading into the Santa Monicas.

At a special meeting Wednesday night, the council unanimously chose for the eight-acre park the name of the Spanish explorer who stopped in the Calabasas area with 240 settlers in 1776, on his way to found what would become San Francisco.

"We wanted to be able to build and contribute to the lore of the area, a lot of which has been forgotten," said Councilman Dennis Washburn, who proposed the name. "There's a real sense of history here, and I think people will get into this."

The council also approved plans for a recreation center at the foot of the mountains, with floor-to-ceiling windows exposing the picturesque Malibu Creek state park.

The one-story center, said Community Services Director Greg Johnson, will include a multipurpose room, a meeting room with a stone fireplace for use by public and community groups, breezeways leading to trails and a playground, and a terrace for wedding receptions and other ceremonies.

Space will be reserved for displays about the natural character and history of the area, which was once populated by Chumash Indians.

"It's going to be beautiful," Johnson said, "and something the whole community can use."

Funds for the $1.2-million project have been set aside from Los Angeles County bond money and developer fees.

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