Flowing by the Fairways 2: The Santa Ana River’s Riverview Golf Course

March 27, 2012 § 5 Comments

Egrets along the Santa Ana River in the middle of Santa Ana's Riverview Golf Course.

Kudos to Jessica on yesterday’s post about reaching détente between golf courses and healthy creeks. Her examples are instructive, but there’s at least one more somewhat interesting local example – on the Santa Ana River in Orange County. I alluded to it near the end of this earlier Santiago Creek post; the River View Golf Course contains Santiago Creek’s confluence with the Santa Ana River. It’s located near the intersection of the 5, 22, and 57 Freeways, not far from Anaheim Stadium (map below.) « Read the rest of this entry »

Images of Proposal for Studio City Golf and Tennis Site

August 15, 2009 § 1 Comment

Studio City River Park Proposal

Studio City River Park Proposal

In October 2009, L.A. Creek Freak reported details about a proposed new Los Angeles River Park at the current site of Studio City Golf and Tennis; for text explaining this proposal, see that earlier post. At the time, the visuals weren’t available for the press. I later received them from Esther Feldman, the president of Community Conservancy International. I forgot to run them at the time…

Recently I attended a meeting hosted by California Senators Judy Chiu and Fran Pavely to present and discuss river and waterway projects in the San Fernando Valley, and I saw another presentation on what’s now called the Studio City “Los Angeles River Natural Park” proposal. Below are the images. The group, which emerged from the Studio City Residents Association, promoting this project now has its own website: Save L.A. River Open Space. The site includes these images in a downloadable color Vision and Design report (pdf.)  If you’re interested in getting involved in this project email “saveopenspace [at] SLAROS.org”

Overall Concept Design

Overall Concept Design

 The overall design features multi-use green space on the site, and trail connections along the river.

Habitat and Open Space Elements

Habitat and Open Space Elements

 Habitat elements include preserving existing trees, and adding a new creekbed bioswale that drains to the river.

Sub-Watershed Drainage Area

Sub-Watershed Drainage Area

 The park would treat stormwater from the surrounding neighborhood.

Water Quality Improvement Elements

Water Quality Improvement Elements

 Water quality features would include the main large creekbed bioswale (receiving rainwater from street run-off), cisterns, and infiltration areas. 

Recreational Elements
Recreational Elements

The existing (golf and tennis) uses would be preserved, though with smaller footprints.

Public Access via foot, bike, bus, and car
Public Access via foot, bike, bus, and car

Access to the site would be mainly via bike and walk paths along the river.

For higher resolution images and additional details, click here or on an image to download the report.

A New Vision for Studio City Golf and Tennis

October 15, 2008 § 5 Comments

Creek freak headed for Studio City last night to witness the unveiling of a new vision plan for the Studio City Golf and Tennis site.  For those of you unfamilar with the site, it’s a 22-acre parcel on the north bank of the Los Angeles River.  The site is bounded by Whitsett Avenue, Valley Spring Lane, and Bellaire Avenue.

The back story: For more than fifty years, the site has been the home of Weddington Golf & Tennis – a popular private recreational facility.  With property values soaring in recent years, the site’s owners are seeking to develop housing at the site.  The latest proposal (gory details available here) calls for 200 senior condominiums in six four-story buildings with 635 parking spaces.  Neighbors have been nearly unanimous in their vocal opposition to housing development at the site, for many reasons, including increased traffic and loss of access to the planned Los Angeles River greenway.

Last night, there were about a hundred people gathered at the Studio City Residents Association (SCRA) meeting at the Beverly Garland Hotel.  The meeting was opened by board president Alan Dymond who framed the night’s presentations by emphasizing the regional connections for the site to cleanse stormwater pollution, and to connect to a future revitalized Los Angeles River.  He stated that the river “won’t be like San Antonio” but “will be a lot better than it looks right now.”  He emphasized that the Golf & Tennis volunteer committee of the SCRA is shifting beyond local parochial issues to elevate the struggle to regional significance.  To demonstrate this, the committee has changed their name from “Save Studio City Golf & Tennis” to “Save Los Angeles River Open Space in Studio City.”  The site is regionally significant in that it really is the only river-adjacent large undeveloped parcel in the East Valley.  There’s no other promising river park site between the Sepulveda Basin and Weddington Park (about five miles.)

SCRA and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) hired Community Conservancy International (CCI) to oversee the creation of an alternative plan for the site.  CCI oversaw a 6-month process that included engaging BlueGreen and other consultants to work with the community to generate a vision for the future of the site.

The plan looks great!  I will post images of it here when they’re made available after presentation to the SMMC board next week.  The four goals of the vision plan are: 1) Improve water quality and water conservation, 2) Create a regional public access and staging area for the future Los Angeles River greenway, 3) Restore native habitat, and 4) Integrate historic recreational uses (that would be golf and tennis.)

The proposal calls for a regional park that cleanses stormwater that would flow onto the site from about 100 acres worth of adjacent residential neighborhoods.  Runoff would be directed into creekbed bioswales, which will slow down the flows, and naturally cleanse the water.  This green multi-benefit appoach also recharges underground aquifers to increase water supply, lessens flooding, and provides habitat and green space for humans to walk, bike and picnic.  The design preserves some existing mature tree canopy, mostly along Valley Spring Lane, while adding native California vegetation.  The 9-hole golf course would be removed, but the driving range, putting area, clubhouse and 16 tennis courts would remain (and could serve as a revenue source for ongoing park expenses.)  These recreational amenities would become multiple purpose features – the driving range would serve as a overflow area for larger storm events, the tennis courts would have cisterns and infiltration units below ground.  Mercifully, no additional parking is proposed.

The crowd was generally supportive of the vision presented.  Some concerns about security were expressed, and many expressed skepticism about negoitating with the current owner, who hasn’t been particularly responsive to community concerns.  The team wouldn’t put a dollar value estimate on the site… the land itself was astronomical (at least prior to the recent market downturn) and with 22 acres of park, creek freak guesses that it won’t be less than $25 million.  The volunteer committee handed out envelopes and requested donations to pay for additional studies to refine the broad plan.  CCI’s Esther Feldman stressed that this is a tremendous opportunity and that “the way to get public funds is to offer public benefits.”  With a vision of creative stormwater cleansing and greenway connections, it looks like Studio City is on the right track, but it’s going to take plenty of hard work, creative design, and savvy negotiations to bring this vision to fruition. 

To get involved in this project, email the SCRA at “scraboard {at} studiocityresidents.org” Updated 8/10/2009 – new contact email: saveopenspace [at] SLAROS.org

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