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CalParksBoard Gives Santa Monica Thumbs Up

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

January 24, 2014 -- Santa Monica officials got two nods from the California Association of Park and Recreation Commissioners & Board Members (CalParksBoard) for their work improving greenspace in the bayside city.

The nonprofit organization named Parks & Rec Chair Phil Brock Parks & Recreation Commissioner of the year for 2013 and applauded Santa Monica’s new “Universally Accessible Playground,” naming it the best special park project in the state.

“I'm humbled and honored,” said Brock, who has been on the Commission since 2003.

During his tenure, Brock has been a vocal advocate of expanding greenspace Santa Monica, one of the most densely populated cities in the region.

Brock said that while on the Commission, he has opened six new parks, advocated for safer pedestrian & bicycle paths and opened a skateboard park.

He called parks the “lungs of the city,” adding that they help “unify our neighborhoods.”

Most recently, Brock has begun calling for the City to open up a 1.2 acre patch of greenspace to the public.

Currently, the grassy knoll on the city’s east side is fenced off due to security concerns because it is above the Mt. Olivet Reservoir.

“We're not done,” Brock said of the Commission’s drive to improve and expand greenspace in the city.

He also said that the Commission is still pushing for a children’s playground on the north of Palisades Park.

Santa Monica’s newest park, which opened last July, also got the attention of the CalParksBoard.

The $1 million park located on the beach near the city’s southern border, is designed to accommodate children no matter if they are able-bodied, in a wheelchair or dealing with some other physical or cognitive disability.

“I think it was a long-term goal of our commission and Santa Monica to have a playground that children of all abilities can use,” Brock said.

The playground floor is made of rubber, not sand, so children in wheelchairs can access it. There are elevated sand tables so that kids can play with in the sand without it limiting access to the park.

There is also a “sensory” wall, lined with tiles for children who may not be able to see.

“We think it's important in the City, important for the state and important for the nation,” Brock said.

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