Months after they criticized a fence plan for the artificial turf soccer field at the Mar Vista Recreation Center for being too close to the field, local soccer advocates have offered support for an updated proposal.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks presented plans in December to install a ten-foot-high chain-link fence along the existing mow strip, 15 feet from the soccer field, around the north, west and east sides of the field, which is at the west end of Mar Vista Park on Woodbine Street.
Along the south side, the department proposed to push the fence back 56 feet, creating a practice area for the field. The plan also included the installation of new bleachers outside the fence.
Recreation and Parks representatives said they plan to put up the chain-link fence for security and protection of the artificial turf surface, as well as to help prevent usage when the park is closed.
But while the need for the fence was not as much a concern, local soccer proponents objected to the location of the enclosure, saying that the plan was unsafe and did not create enough room for players and spectators by being only 15 feet from the field.
At a meeting of the Mar Vista Community Council Recreation and Open Space Enhancement Committee Tuesday, February 26th, Recreation and Parks department representatives presented an amended plan that moves the fence further away from the field, garnering some support from the soccer community.
“We’re very happy with the whole thing,” Mar Vista Community Council member and youth soccer advocate Sharon Commins said of the updated fence plan. “It’s really gratifying to have a new spirit of cooperation. This is a much better result than we expected.”
According to the amended concept plan, the department has proposed to push the ten-foot-high fence 15 feet back from the mow strip, approximately 30 feet from the field. Another key change from the previous plan is that the chain-link fence will be moved around the outside of the new bleachers.
The fence will remain along the existing mow strip on the north side of the field, and on the south side the fence will be located 56 feet away, creating a practice area, according to the department’s concept plan.
Tom Ponton, chair of the Recreation and Open Space Enhancement Committee, commended the city Department of Recreation and Parks for amending the proposal to address the concerns of community members and soccer proponents.
“In general, I’m happy that they finally listened to us,” said Ponton, former chair of the Mar Vista Community Council.
The current chair of the Mar Vista Community Council, Rob Kadota, called the plan a “win-win,” saying that it respects the families of soccer players who need to have enough space around the field to be able to watch the games.
“It seems like a nice compromise,” Kadota said.
Some who are active with youth soccer groups criticized the previous plan for not providing enough room near the sidelines for spectators. Others also expressed safety concerns with players possibly running into the fence during games.
But Commins, who said the new plan is “very well designed,” expressed confidence that the proposal gives spectators sufficient space and allows room for players to run off the field.
Neighbors who live near the park have been adamant about the need to keep soccer balls from flying onto their property and prevent noise coming from the field at night. Ponton said the department proposed to keep the fence closer to the field on the north side in an effort to respond to concerns of nearby neighbors.
The department is still working with the community to finalize the hours that the field will be accessible with the new fence, Ponton said.
Department of Recreation and Parks officials had not returned phone calls seeking comment on the amended fence plan at Argonaut press time.