Is Griffith Park ready to play ball?

May 9, 2012

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A Little League baseball game in California. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

A proposal from City Councilman Tom LaBonge is causing quite a stir in northeast Los Angeles. LaBonge, in an effort to answer the calls of parents in the area for more Little League baseball fields, floated the idea of building two in Griffith Park. This would reduce the amount of time parents in Los Feliz, Atwater Village, Silver Lake, Echo Park and East Hollywood would have to spend driving to Hancock Park or Toluca Lake, where the closest fields are now.

The fields would be located on the east side of Griffith Park near Crystal Springs Drive. The project would be funded by Proposition K and would run upwards of $950,000. However, one stipulation of Proposition K projects is that they are opened up to public discussion, and some vocal minority factions are proving to be an obstacle for the project.

Opponents of the plan cite the fact that construction would move a frequented picnic area and displace several trees in the area. Several equestrians also claim that the noisy kids could spook their horses on the trail which would run up near the fields. Alternately, an area of Atwater Village across the Los Angeles river and Interstate 5 is being considered for a backup option.

When will the council rule on this issue? What other problems do opponents of the plan have with the proposed fields? What other options are there to reach a resolution? Is there a potential win-win for both sides?

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