In wake of COVID-19, Culver City’s General Plan continues to adjust

In preparation for the meeting of the General Plan Advisory Committee on Aug. 13, several videos have been released on the City of Culver City YouTube channel providing updates on important aspects of Culver City life in order to gauge public opinion. Topics of these videos include Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces, Housing, Arts and Culture, Hazards, and Socioeconomic Profile/Market Analysis.

Each of these videos are accompanied by a survey for residents to fill out to gauge public opinion on these topics to discuss at the meeting, the committee’s first since its presentation at the July 13 city council meeting regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the General Plan.

This presentation highlighted some of the progress that the General Plan Update has made in terms of engagement, which includes 15 Speaker Series events, 36 stakeholder interviews, four pop-up meetings, four General Plan Advisory Committee. Additionally, the presentation demonstrated the more remote ways that the General Plan Advisory Committee has reached out to constituents.

The video on Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces outlined the structure of parks and other spaces used by the city for recreational programs. The city currently has two community parks, seven neighborhood parks, and five parkettes/mini-parks which gives Culver City a total of 91.5 acres of city parks. There are 700 acres of open spaces in surrounding areas, such as Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and Media Park, also includes plazas like Lion Fountain

Additionally, the City has a joint use agreement with CCUSD allowing use of their facilities for recreational purposes. There are also other recreational buildings that the city runs most classes, community events, preschools, and other programming out of recreation facilities, but many of these buildings need renovations and capital improvements, which suffered one of the most significant cuts in the FY 2020/2021 budget due to COVID-19.

The efforts of the Ballona Creek Revitalization project also provide a unique opportunity to increase bike and pedestrian accessibility in city.

However, there were still some things to improve on, accessibility in particular. While about 35% of Culver City residences are within a quarter mile of a park, many of the areas in Culver City that were considered ‘park deficient’ by a 1968 recreation element map.

As previously mentioned, one of the main roadblocks in the way of continued improvement of these aspects is a lack of funding for both maintenance and capital improvement projects as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, there is a noted lack of community meeting space room throughout the city. While there are venues such as the Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the Culver City Senior Center, the park based recreational buildings are sorely lacking in facility space.

Another challenge that city parks face is improving security. This would mean taking measures like improving lighting and installing security cameras to protect people and deter criminals.

Finally, the sudden change in demographics and the culture of modern day kids and teenagers since the advent of social media has made some scheduled programming obsolete.

There are also several opportunities that were noted that could improve the city’s parks. The first idea mentioned was making Culver City parks more dog friendly by opening more space for them to be allowed.

Additionally, the Ballona Creek Revitalization Project is seen as a unique opportunity for the city to connect the city for walkers and bikers.

Strengthening the joint agreement between CCUSD and the city to allow for more flexible space use was another idea presented.

Finally, the presentation noted that there is an opportunity to establish Culver City’s cultural identity by incorporating arts and culture into the parks, such as public art and cultural programming.

Each of these videos follows a similar format, illustrating the details of each topic presented. There is also a survey attached to each of these videos for the public to express their opinions. They are found in the description of the videos that they correspond to, and there is currently no date in which the surveys will close. 

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