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Santa Monica Launches Tongva Park Donation Program

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Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

April 21, 2014 -- Nature lovers will have the chance to sponsor a park bench at the award winning Tongva Park as part of a new donation campaign announced on Tuesday by the City of Santa Monica.

For $3,150, donors are able to customize a plaque to be permanently enshrined on a selected bench located in prime spots throughout the park.  This fundraising effort is part of the City’s Give Santa Monica program, with the money collected used to purchase amenities for the city’s parks, beach, and forests.

“The program’s really important because it gives the community at large a chance to donate to the City to improve the park and the beach,” said Senior Administrative Analyst Melissa Spagnuolo. “This is an excellent opportunity to commemorate an anniversary or birthday, honor a friend or family member, or memorialize a loved one.”

In order to complement the park’s modern design and to retain their longevity, the plaques will be custom-designed from stainless steel with personalized messages being etched onto them.  These plaques will then be fitted on the wood benches found all over the park. 

“We’re thrilled to be able to open up this opportunity to the Santa Monica community,” said Karen Ginsberg, Director of Community & Cultural Services. “Tongva Park has already claimed a special place in the hearts of many. The bench program is a new way to make it just that much more personal for friends and loved ones.”

There are a limited number of benches open for purchase, with locations available on a first come, first serve basis. As of press time, three plaques have already been adopted by community members.

“We would love to have them all adopted,” Spagnuolo said.

Designed by the internationally renowned landscape architecture firm James Corner’s Field Operations, Tongva Park opened to the public in September, providing a distinctive park experience for patrons. (“Tongva Park is a Unique Experience in Santa Monica,” September 10, 2013)

A month after opening, the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) gave the Tongva Park, along with Ken Genser Square, its 2013 Project of the Year award for “Recreation and Athletic Facilities.”  (“Santa Monica’s Public Works Department Wins Three Awards,” October 29, 2013)

In January, City Parks Alliance, a national urban park advocacy organization, named Tongva Park as a “Frontline Park.” (“Two New Santa Monica Parks Win National Recognition,” January 27, 2014)

Since its opening, Tongva Park has been featured in publications including the Los Angeles Times, Sunset Magazine, Landscape Architecture Magazine, and the New York Times, according to city officials.

“We have created a new heart for Santa Monica – a new destination and gathering place of great social, ecological, and symbolic value,” said designer James Corner. “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the people of Santa Monica to create a place together that feels so fresh and dynamic.”

Tongva Park is located at 1615 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California. For more information on the park, visit

To purchase a bench, contact the City of Santa Monica’s Community & Cultural Services Department at 310-458-8310 or email

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