Thanks to All Who Shared park concerns With Council Members Davis, Winterer and McKeown
November 8, 2013 -- Many thanks to all the concerned residents who turned out at the monthly NOMA meeting to share their concerns about the Council's recent vote to permit commercial training in historic Palisades Parkwith Council Members Gleam Davis, Ted Winterer and Kevin McKeown. The proposed ordinance had drawn sharp criticism from a coalition of all the city's seven neighborhood groups, as well as the Recreation & Parks Commission and the Landmarks Commission.
Many NOMA members and friends rose to ask the Council Members to reverse their decision, saying that Palisades Park is a unique, tranquil and irreplaceable haven for quiet contemplation and the enjoyment of nature.
Council Members Davis and Winterer urged residents to give the ordinance a chance to work, and said they anticipated the ordinance would give the city an opportunity to impose order on the iconic gateway. Davis also said she felt it would be impossible to ban commercial uses from the park, citing her observation of movie shoots and a recent children's birthday held there. McKeown said he opposed the use of Palisades Park by trainers, but supported the ordinance because he felt that some regulation would be better than nothing at all.
NOMA resident and attorney Stan Epstein said the Council had approved a poorly drafted ordinance that would not be able to effectively regulate the use of the park without extensive revisions. (See Bill Bauer's column outlining Epstein's objections here.) Phil Brock, chair of the city's Recreation and Parks Commission, said recent changes in city staffing make it unlikely that the ordinance will be effectively enforced in any case, because park rangers have been assigned other duties that keep them away from Palisades Park.
NOMA board members said they would continue to coordinate with other neighborhood groups to seek solutions to citywide concerns about commercial use of scarce city park land.
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