Redondo Beach is ‘Park Poor’

Plentiful and well maintained open space and parks are a critical component in the livability of a City. More parks means a healthier population, happier and calmer kids, lower rates of chronic diseases like diabetes and yes, higher property values, lease rates, hotel room rates and an overall better climate for businesses which all brings more money to the City.

Few realize that Redondo Beach is ‘park poor.’ Many can feel it with the over-crowded soccer fields, baseball diamonds and few areas close by for us to recreate. But few realize that Redondo Beach only has 2.4 acres of park/thousand residents – yes, this includes the 30 acres of beach we have. The national average is near 12 acres/thousand residents.  The State of California has deemed any city below 3 acres/1,000 residents as ‘critically underserved.’

As co-founder and President of the South Bay Parkland Conservancy in 2004, I have been fighting for more parks ever since. Contrary to the common belief that parks cost the City money, well maintained and popular areas improve the business climate of an area, drive up property values, and provide returns to the community, both in terms of quality of life and financial benefits that rarely make their way into financial reports.

I voted to set-up a City fund to purchase available land for more parks as part of the 2015/2016 budget, and have fought for 15 years to see a large park as a component of the redevelopment of the AES site. Mayor Aspel has never supported this vision, and voted to rezone the AES power plant twice for dense residential and commercial development. He has always said he’s for more parks, but when it comes time to vote and implement policies, the facts are twisted and no park materializes. He once told me, “There will be a big park in the AES site,” and then supported development plans with very little park space. His policies will see a worsening of our park poor status.