ACREAGE IN DEGRADED WETLANDS UP FOR SALE
Rally protests UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE rejection of park plan
A Playa Vista-area mail processing center is being closed and the community wants the property to become a
By Lee Peterson
Daily Breeze, September 18, 2005
The U.S. Postal Service has placed its prime 20-acre Marina Processing and Distribution Center near Playa Vista
on the market, despite pleas from a collection of elected officials and residents trying to transform the land into
public open space.
The commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis announced Friday it will accept bids for the property until Nov. 1
on the Postal Service's behalf.
The tract in question, zoned for light industrial uses, sits at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Alla Road, just
across the street from the new Playa Vista development.
The decision -- while anticipated -- has irked environmentalists and a group called the Del Rey Park Task Force,
which has been working since the spring to promote plans for a community park.
They staged a rally Friday afternoon at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Alla Road, drawing nearly 200
people with banners and bullhorns. On a small tuft of green at the edge of the property, they shouted at passing
cars and mingled with Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, even as the sprinklers popped up and
doused their pant legs.
"This is just the beginning of what we're going to do to keep this land public land and public land only,"
Rosendahl, dressed in a pinstriped suit, shouted to the crowd of parents and children in sports uniforms.
Afterward, he criticized the Postal Service for ignoring his request for more time but said city leaders were
continuing to pursue park funding.
"Do we need to have another Playa Vista over on this side (of the street)?" he asked. "I say no ... this is worth
fighting for. " Rosendahl was one of several elected officials, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, who urged the Postal
Service to hold off on the sale for six months while park advocates searched for funding. The Postal Service
agreed several weeks ago to a one-month delay.
But in a Sept. 6 letter to Boxer, Government Relations Manager Mary Ann Simpson wrote that the six-month
request just wasn't possible.
"A further delay of six months would cost the postal service over $2 million, at a minimum, in maintenance,
interest and opportunity loss," she wrote.
"Additionally, we understand the legislation to place a bond measure before California voters in June 2006 that
the community was relying upon ... has been tabled until the next legislative session." The bond measure in
question, proposed by Sen. Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
But park supporters, including environmental groups who support creating a natural area of fresh vernal pools
and walking trails on the property, contend money could still be available. Marcia Hanscom, who heads the
Wetlands Action Network, said she believes Port of Los Angeles environmental mitigation dollars or funding from
the state Wildlife Conservation Board could help fund the project.
She's pitched a plan for passive and active recreation space, she said "because we think really, that's the only
way we're going to put a funding package together," she said.
Despite the hurdles ahead of them this fall, community members see the Postal Service's land as a golden
opportunity to gain more green space.
"Parks reduce crime," said former Culver City Mayor David Hauptman, who coaches a soccer league in south Los
Angeles. "It's as simple as that."
The property at 13031 Jefferson Blvd. is an 857,000-square foot parcel with a 350,000-square-foot warehouse
and 1,185 parking spaces.
* * * * * * *
The Environmental Relief Center
Studio City, CA 91604