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VALLEY FOCUS | Encino

Vote May Accelerate Jogging Path Repairs

September 24, 1998|EDWARD M. YOON

The lengthy dispute between city and federal agencies over the cost of repairs to an El Nino-ravaged jogging path at Sepulveda Basin may soon be settled, representatives of Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski said.

In a 10-0 vote Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved a motion to direct the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Army Corps of Engineers to meet jointly with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to resolve the bureaucratic logjam over the needed repairs.

Nearly half of the 3 1/2-mile jogging path that circles the Encino-Balboa golf courses has been closed to runners and walkers for the past seven months.

The city recreation department, which oversees the recreational uses of the basin, had estimated that repairs that would meet the standards of the Army Corps of Engineers would cost about $200,000. The Army Corps owns the basin and leases the land to the city.

But FEMA officials had projected it should cost no more than $44,000 to clean the path.

"While the city and FEMA debate their differences over this project, this valuable recreational resource remains unavailable to joggers," Miscikowski said Wednesday.

In fact the path's closure has not stopped some people from using it. Some joggers have been seen climbing over or crawling under the chain-link fence despite signs that read "Caution, unsafe conditions, path closed."

"All three agencies must play a pivotal role in the reopening of the jogging path, and must work together to resolve their differences so this facility can again be open to public use," Miscikowski said.

FEMA officials called the council vote a positive step in getting the jogging track reopened.

"I guess now that we got the City Council's attention, we would like to move forward with it," said Eliza Chun, public affairs officer for FEMA's San Francisco office.

Chun declined to discuss whether FEMA would compromise on the cost of the repairs.

Recreation and Parks officials could not be reached for comment.

Glenn Barr, press deputy to Miscikowski, said officials from the three agencies are expected to meet soon.

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