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Santa Monica City Council to Name Park

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

February 7, 2013 -- Should Santa Monica's newest park be called The Shire or maybe Spaceship Adventure Fun Park or even The Mecca?

Those are three of the 143 suggestions from the public listed by staff in its report to the City Council, when it considers Tuesday what to name the six-acre parcel currently under construction across the street from City Hall.

The list of suggested names -- including “Big Wow Park” and “La Puerta Del Cielo” (Heaven's Gate) -- grew as staff asked for public input on a list of four names compiled in October.

“Using a range of outreach methods staff gathered input from 550 community members regarding the Council’s suggested short list,” staff said.

The four options were Arroyo Park or Santa Monica Arroyo Park; Tongva Park or Santa Monica Tongva Park; Parque del Sol; and Santa Monica Commons.

Tongva is the name of an indigenous people who lived in the Los Angeles area before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.

Despite the outreach efforts, however, there was no clear preference for a name. Of the 550 people asked, 141 preferred some variation of one of the four names.

Tongva Park came in with 128 supporters, while Santa Monica Commons had 111 supporters. Ninety people said they liked Arroy Park while 80 liked Parque del Sol.

“Public input shows that none of the short-listed names resonated loudly with the majority of participants,” staff said.

“Members of the public most often selected 'Other' and either went on to submit their own suggestion... or went no further,” staff said.

The 139 other names, including Fun Park and Peach Love are result of the public input process.

One resident suggested that the park simply be called Los Arroyos because “'Meet you at Los Arroyos' sounds cooler than 'Meet you at Arroyo Park.'”

Another suggested Saint Augustine Public Park. Saint Augustine, a seminal Christian theologian, was the son of Saint Monica, who is often depicted weeping for her son, a reputed a rake in his youth.

Because no clear preference emerged from the public outreach process, staff suggests going with the park's working title: “Palisades Garden Walk.”

The park is located directly across from Ken Genser Square, the one-acre site immediately in front of City Hall that was named for one of Santa Monica's late mayors.

Genser, who was elected to the City Council in 1988 and served three terms as mayor, died in January 2010.

He was one of the founding members of the Community Corporation of Santa Monica and was an avid supporter of renters' rights.

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