To acquire Weddington Golf and Tennis to protect it as public recreational open Space.
Phase 1: Acquire the property.
Phase 2: Build the Los Angeles River Natural Park.
Our nonprofit (501c3) organization, Save LA River Open Space (SLAROS) is dedicated to preserving the last significant Los Angeles river-fronting open space in the San Fernando Valley. Our nonprofit corporation was formally established in 2004 subsequent to a proposed rezoning and development of the 16 acre Weddington Golf and Tennis property in Studio City as was first proposed in May 2000. To date we have been successful. On July 31, 2014, the City Planning published the owners’ Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for condominium development which initiated a 60 day public comment period.
The strategy for seeking a green-friendly alternative to the dense condominium project was driven by recent surveys that indicate wide support to keep the property as publically-accessible, recreational Open Space. To achieve this goal, we must first find funding for the purchase and preservation of the property. Thereafter, we will work to create the L.A. River Natural Park on the site, which would tie the property into the existing Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan while at the same time preserve vital community recreational facilities.
On October 30, 2017, Harvard Westlake announced that they are acquiring the Golf and Tennis site so it can be developed into an Athletics Center primarily for student usage. They plan to re-evaluate the Parking, Safety & Athletic Improvement (PSA) Project that the school has proposed on land it owns just west of Coldwater Canyon across from the upper school campus and move it to the Weddington Golf and Tennis site.
Ironically, the improving economy presents both opportunity and risk. While funding for the eventual purchase of the land is more promising in the improving environment, the real estate market has also rebounded and we understand there is more activity around the sale of the property than we have seen in recent years.
Simultaneously there is emerging understanding and appreciation both within government and the community at large of the value of a unique public space that provides an outdoor educational site, recreational space, and biological treatment of the polluted water runoff from adjacent neighborhoods that we envision in the eventual phase of the project. This growing appreciation of the benefits and the clarification of municipal responsibility to provide such remediation make us optimistic long term. We have many volunteers and supporters, but we can’t do it all with volunteers. There is the need for donations and grants to handle some elements, particularly those outside of the scope of our volunteers in skill or time required for stewardship. Therefore we are continuously fundraising.
This is an exciting time for SLAROS. While the challenges before us to preserve the Open Space and prevent the continued encroachment of density and development are real, we have an able team of volunteers who are communicating a clear and popular message to a willing and influential community. As an organization, we have boldly undertaken a lengthy community appraisal and self-examination to make sure we are on task and best structured to secure our goals. We appreciate our numerous supporters and contributors who have stayed with us through the years. Our work continues.